The Parliamentary Committee on the Interior was surprised by the “veto” of the Minister of Interior Nikos Nouris in the request for an increase in the number of municipalities proposed by the Government in the context of the Local Government reform.
The Home Secretary said in a statement after the meeting that diversifying the number of entities to be created clearly jeopardizes the reform and its viability itself and the Government cannot agree to the increase suggested by the parties as this will lead to its collapse. this new administrative model.
For her part, the Chairman of the Committee on Interior, Eleni Mavrou, told KYPE that the Committee on Interior had held a final consultation on the basis of the amended bills for the reform between the members of the Committee, the Minister of Interior, the Union of Municipalities and the Union of Communities. which have once again raised much-discussed issues and on which there are differing views.
See also: With 20 Municipalities, the reform of the T.A.
He added that “the statement of the Minister was a surprise, which essentially vetoed the increase of the number of municipalities from the 17 provided in the relevant bill”.
Answering a question, he clarified that the Minister of Interior, in the way in which he justified the rejection of the increase in the number of municipalities, because, as Ms. Mavrou stated, yes, the criteria of economic viability were among the basic criteria taken into account in the process. creation of new municipalities, but was first set as the absolute criterion.
The timeframe for the vote on the package has already begun to press, so the Committee on Home Affairs has decided to gather all the views expressed and return to its next meeting in an effort to conclude their discussion within the next few weeks.
Asked about the request to increase the number of municipalities, Ms. Mavrou said that the position that holds a majority among the parliamentary parties is to increase the number of municipalities to 20, taking into account the large number of communities that have been added.
The Interior Minister said in a statement after the session that the three bills had a lot of public debate all this time, and consultation with all those involved, and after stating that it is understood that any reform effort will always face problems and there will always be disagreements, he added. that through the dialogue, the scientific studies, which were made, the discussions that followed, there are acceptable assumptions, which were made by all, by all the parliamentary parties and on the basis of these assumptions that the specific legislations were formed and brought before the Parliament of Representatives.
“We want municipalities that are financially and administratively autonomous. We want Municipalities and Communities that are sustainable in the long run and of course can be able to offer quality services to the citizens at the lowest possible cost ', said the Minister of Interior.
The Minister of Interior recalled a technocratic study, which has been known to everyone for some time, which, as he said, provided that the number of 30 Municipalities currently operating in the territory of the Republic is excessive and should be reduced to at least around 14 and He added that through discussions and consensus, we have reached number 17, which we consider to be the highest number we could reach, so as not to jeopardize the viability of the reform.
He went on to say that today we have a specific change in the text of the bill, which was made at the level of the Commission, which suggests increasing the number of new entities to 20 and we heard in the discussion that this number may become 21.
“We believe that this particular differentiation clearly jeopardizes the reform itself, that is, the viability of the reform, and I have made it clear that the Government can not consent to such a number since scientifically and substantiated, as I have stated the numbers “This will lead to the collapse of this new administrative model”, continued the Minister of Interior.
In addition, another difference that we do not agree with as a Government, is the fact that a single Licensing Authority is not favored, said Mr. Nouris and referred to the bill that is pending for discussion, in order to accelerate the licensing of the so-called major developments and fact that the issuance of urban and building permits for the simple residence up to a duplex, is done within 10 days by the competent authorities.
He went on to note that the goal is for the licensing authority to be unified, to unify the urban and building permits, to end the suffering of the citizens and to operate the institution of the so-called 'one stop shop' in favor of the citizens.
The proposal for fragmentation of the licensing authority, as the bill has been differentiated with urban planning permits being issued at the provincial level and building permits remaining in the Municipalities is a very serious setback, and for the Government and can not be accepted.
Mr. Nouris added that the Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus (ETEK) in an urgent letter forwarded an opinion identical to the position of the Government.
The Minister of Interior also said that he expressed the position in the Committee of Interior that, because we are entering an election period and the specific process should be completed quickly, noting that we have never come so close to trying to implement a reform.
Stating that the Government remains at the disposal of the parties to discuss any possible small details that exist for the final outcome, and of course the parties reserve the right at the level of plenary to submit their own amendments, he expressed the hope that the parties will make second thoughts and will not cripple such a structured sentence bringing about significant last minute changes.
Asked by a journalist whether the Government is considering withdrawing the bills in case there is insistence on the 20 Municipalities, the Minister of Interior expressed the view that all parties, regardless of any positions, are committed to the reform of Local Government.