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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-04-07

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Minister of Labour and Social Insurance Soteroula Charalambous intends to modernise labour relations, increase economic growth and contribute towards what she called a more balanced society.

    In an interview with CNA, the Minister said she intends to initiate a tripartite dialogue on the modernisation of labour relations to render the labour system more compatible with current trends in the Cypriot labour market and the local economy.

    We will promote a dialogue on labour relations issues in order to make the whole system work more effectively, according to new trends, she said.

    Charalambous also talked about a more balanced society, which will ensure a fair distribution of wealth and expressed the view that social security benefits will constitute a useful tool towards this direction.

    Asked if additional social security benefits will increase inflation, the Minister of Labour said that our position is that inflation is not the result of social benefits, nor is economy or the rate of growth at risk if we increase social benefits.

    The key issue for us is to set our priorities and to manage properly our resources, in order to increase social benefits without taking any risks related to the stability of our economy, she added.

    In her interview with CNA, the Minister of Labour referred also to the sustainability of the Social Insurance Fund and stated that Taking into consideration the dialogue that has already taken place on this issue, the work that has been done by previous Ministers, the positions of the social partners and the position of the government as expressed in its programme, we will promote a solution of the issue without creating any unjust conditions for any of the social partners.

    On the cost of living allowance (COLA), she said the government is committed to dialogue on this, taking into account that priorities must be set out.

    Commenting on the fact that despite the governments commitment to equal participation of women in the decision making process, she is the only female member in the Council of Ministers, Charalambous noted that the participation of women in institutional bodies is a very important issue for President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and she expressed her certainty that the President has the will to promote this issue.

    I am sure that the President would like the participation of more women in the Council of Ministers, she noted.

    On the implementation of labour law and regulations, Charalambous expressed the belief that a new culture should be consolidated among the social partners on this issue and added that employees should cooperate with the Ministry and point the finger at cases where regulations are violated. This will enable the Ministry of Labour and its personnel to play their role more effectively, she concluded.

    On drawing financial assistance from European Union funds for various projects, the Minister underlined that projects should not stop once EU funding ends and added that it is essential for us to develop the structures that will ensure continuity of the policies funded by the EU as social needs continue to exist.

    Charalambous concluded by commenting on topics related to the social inclusion of the disabled and noted that this issue is a very important item on the agenda of the Ministry.

    I have given directions to the officers dealing with this subject to elaborate the decisions already taken regarding the implementation of quota for the employment of disabled people in the public sector, so that we will proceed with the necessary institutional and legal regulations in order to implement these decisions she added.


    President of the Parliamentary Group of the Christian Democratic Union (CSU) Peter Ramsauer has expressed satisfaction over the opening of the crossing point in Ledra Street, noting however that Turkey has become a burden to the Turkish Cypriots and must stop using the Turkish Cypriot community as a hostage to meet its own national interests.

    In a press release posted on the CSU website, Ramsauer expresses his satisfaction that he was able to participate in this greatly symbolic development, noting that although the opening of the crossing point rekindles hope and optimism, it is doubtful that it could be linked to a solution of the Cyprus problem any time soon.

    He says that there are many interests and very complex issues to be taken into consideration. However, Ramsauer notes, this is a small but politically and psychologically important step and all interested parties must now be encouraged by this step and, despite various reactions, move things forward.


    Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) MP Gerd Andres, in a press release on behalf of the SPD Parliamentary Group regarding the opening of a crossing point in Ledra Street, Nicosia, says the Group welcomes the opening of the crossing point and ``sees in it a very important confidence building measure, which must be followed by more.``

    In the announcement issued last week, Andres notes that ``with the opening of the closed for 45 years crossing point in Cyprus` capital, a significant intermediate stage till reunification has been achieved.``

    ``The opening of Ledra Street, which is greatly symbolic, between the Greek and Turkish parts of Nicosia, is a very important step,`` he adds.


    National Guard Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Constantinos Bisbikas will be participating in the annual meeting of FINABEL chiefs of staff, which will be held in Luxembourg on April 9 and 10, during which the accession of Cyprus to the organisation will be made official.

    According to the Cypriot Ministry of Defence, FINABEL was established in 1953 with an aim to maintain contact between European armies on a chief of staff level.

    The organisation`s main purpose is to improve the interoperability of land capabilities, to train European armies, and review doctrines and procedures.

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