Immigration and high electricity prices dominated the debate
The Parliament unanimously approved the first supplementary budget of 2023 amounting to €75 million, with immigration and high electricity prices dominating the debate.
The additional appropriations concern an electricity subsidy in the context of an additional package of measures to support vulnerable groups of the population, households, businesses and the agricultural and livestock sector to deal with inflationary pressures related to the pricing period January-April 2023, amounting to €54 million.
They also concern the accommodation of Ukrainian refugees who arrived in the Republic and requested temporary residence for the period November 2022-February 2023 and unaccompanied minors in hotel units or other accommodation for the period October 2022-February 2023 (€6 million .).
Also hosting Ukrainian refugees who arrive in the Republic and request temporary residence and unaccompanied minors, in hotel units or other accommodation for the period March-December 2023 (€15 million).
ELAM MPs as well as the MP of DIKO Pavlos Mylonas stated that they will vote in favor of the budget, while voting against approximately €8 million in appropriations for the accommodation of unaccompanied minors.
AKEL Member of Parliament Andreas Kavkalias said that there is concern about the Government's intentions regarding the extension of the electricity subsidy measure beyond April. He added that Parliament and the public expect additional measures to address accuracy and inflation. He expressed the hope that there will be moves by the Government and to take a look at AKEL's proposals for the abolition of double taxation on fuel, tax reduction and taxation of energy companies' surplus profits.
EDEK Member of Parliament Ilias Myrianthous appealed to the Government to continue the subsidy for electricity and welcomed the Minister of Finance's statements that he is considering extending the measure for another two months.
DISY Member of Parliament Onoufrios Koullas expressed his satisfaction that there is a request to continue the electricity subsidy, a targeted measure of the previous Government in the right direction, as he mentioned and said that when a proposal for its continuation comes DISY will be positive.
Regarding the issue of immigrants, he said that they are very worried and want the excellent work to continue to limit this huge problem for Cyprus. He added that there may also be circuits “but our humanitarian and Christian beliefs do not allow us to let women and children die of hunger”. necessary measures for immigration and the problem swells. He wondered if DISY had changed its position on the issue “perhaps because it has recently been flirting with the left”.
DISY MP Dimitris Dimitriou said that DISY will continue to flirt with rationality. He added that the immigration issue was not brought to the surface by ELAM, it is an existing problem, solutions are needed, not words and slogans, and the previous government took specific measures. He called on ELAM to drop the slogans and see how solutions are found to deal with the flows and circuits mainly in the occupied territories, while he requested that the EU be utilized in this direction. Until then, he added, we cannot leave our fellow human beings without respect and the basics.
Mr. Koullas reacted when DISY MP Linos Papagiannis also asked for the floor, stating that other MPs should also be appointed. of DISY which is a bigger party.
ELAM Member of Parliament Sotiris Ioannou stated that they are neither unaccompanied nor minors, while behind them there is a whole circuit with interests to avoid deportations. He also said that persons who claim to be 16 to 18 are refusing to undergo age determination tests. Hosting them, he said, costs €8 million, about €2,000 per month in the budget, while he also referred to incidents that took place in hotels that host them. At the same time, he said, our refugees live in apartment buildings that face stability problems and we are discussing what rents they will receive. He said that this mockery should stop and spoke about the interests of slave traders, Turkish airlines, law firms and NGOs who made a profession of charity with high fees.
At the same time, Mr. Ioannou expressed concern that his subsidy electricity for vulnerable groups stops in April and said that thousands of households are exposed due to the high summer temperatures as well. He called on the Government to proceed with moves such as the easier and faster installation of photovoltaics.
The MP of DIKO Pavlos Mylonas said that these “liberals, modernists” who care about everyone's rights do not concern them about the possibility of everyone to be placed in the Parliament. He said that he will vote for the budget and will vote against the points that ELAM voted against.
ELAM MP Linos Papagiannis said that 10 years of Government was not ELAM and it did not lead Cyprus to be the first country in proportion asylum seekers. He added that they supported any efforts but they were too few.
Answering AKEL Member of Parliament Giorgos Loukaidis said that ELAM twice elected Nikos Anastasiadis and now Nikos Christodoulidis. He added that ELAM is also jointly responsible for this great challenge that the country is facing and for the management that has been done.
Diko MP Chrysis Pantelidis said that the flow of applicants from the occupied territories is the biggest problem after the Cyprus conflict, while he added that both are the result of the Turkish occupation. He added that the Government's announcement to establish a deputy immigration ministry is correct.
DISY MP Nikos Tornaritis said that the majority of immigrants come from the occupied territories and this is an additional reason to intensify efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue.
The President of DIKO Nikolas Papadopoulos expressed his disappointment for decades of criminal mistakes that did not allow the development of infrastructure, renewable energy sources, nor the natural gas available in Cyprus, as a result of which the world pays for the most expensive electricity in Europe.