• MAE holds debate on effects of freedom of movement for workers on society, families

    The Department of Policies for Relations with Romanians Abroad (DPRRP) with Romania’s Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) on Tuesday held a debate on the effects of the freedom of movement for workers on the society and families that underscored the importance of policies solving the issues generated by this phenomenon being implemented.

    “It is important for us to hold such discussions jointly with the civil society and public organisations dealing with employment and family affairs because migration, especially labour mobility in the European Union is very important. There are greatly positive effects, but there are also negative effects on families, which have to be recognised and we have to find the most efficient ways to fight against these issues. (…) Many times the issue of children left alone has been avoided; there has not been much talk of it, but I, in my capacity as minister delegate for Romanians abroad I found it necessary for us to bring to the same table public organisations and the civil society in order to find actual solutions,” said Minister Delegate for Relations with Romanians Abroad Dan Stoenescu.

    He added that the Labour Ministry has initiated various bills related to the effects of the freedom of movement for workers.

    “We will have an open dialogue with all the ministries to introduce this problem in the draft laws for the Labour Code and the education law. (…) The medium and long-term objective is including provisions that will fight against the negative effects on families of the freedom of movement for workers. It is an important matter to the governmental organisations of Romania, the civil society and the over 3 million Romanian nationals who work and live abroad,” said Stoenescu.

    Official with the Labour Ministry Gabriel Lungu said the ministry has already been working on legislative amendments for one month that will grant incentives to people who want to work in an area where jobs are in high demand. He added that the incentives would entail better conditions of the workers hired by the beneficiaries, spouse, children and rent.

    Presidential state adviser Sandra Pralong said in her turn that the Romanian Government will have to set up mechanisms for children whose parents are at work abroad to be able to develop normally.

    “The parents of 85,000 Romanian children are working abroad. It is the entire population of the city of Piatra Neamt. Just imagine, next time you go to Piatra Neamt, that each person you meet with in the streets is one of Romania’s children whose parents have left to work abroad. (…) That means children deprived of parental love and attention. (…) The legislation in force does not provide for a method to make sure the parents know what the legal consequences of failing to enroll their children or name a custodian for them are. We should do more, because this generation of children steps into life deprived of the attention, guidance and warmth of a parent,” said Pralong. More…

  • President to appear before Assize Court as defence witness

    President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades will appear on Wednesday before the Assize Court in Nicosia as a defence witness in the trial of former Deputy Attorney General Rikkos Erotokritou, lawyers Andreas Kyprizoglou and Panayiotis Neocleous and the law firm of `Andreas Neocleous`.

    President Anastasiades was called by Erotokritou`s defense to appear before the court as a witness in the procedure of the former Deputy Attorney General`s apology before the Assize Court.

    It is noted that the Court, in its interim decision on the 3rd of March 2016, ruled that there was a prima facie case against the defendants and invited them to present their arguments.

    Erotokritou faces charges of bribery of a public official, bribery of other officials, abuse of power and transactions which indicate corruption.

    Panayiotis Neocleous and the law firm face charges of bribery of a public official, active bribery of public officials and transactions which indicate corruption.

    All four defendants face charges of conspiracy to prevent the course of justice and conspiracy to defraud.

    According to a source close to the President, President Anastasiades had no other choice but to respond positively once he was asked to appear before the Court, since any refusal to appear before the court is considered a criminal offense.

    President of the Cyprus Bar Association Doros Ioannides told CNA that it is the first time that a President of Cyprus testifies as a defense witness in a criminal case.

    The examination and cross-examination of the President is expected to focus on the two meetings he had at the Presidential Palace with Erotokritou and Attorney General Costas Clerides which related to the competencies of the Attorney General.


  • Georgia public figure, French citizen Catherine Roussell cannot receive cancer treatment

    Director General of Georgia’s News Agency GHN Gocha Mirtskhulava launches a humanitarian call to help Catherine Roussell, a public figure in Georgia with French citizenship, who battles cancer, but cannot receive treatment because of the strict provisions in the French and Georgian legislation.

    According to Mirtskhulava, the French embassy in Georgia is not able to help her because the French legislation prohibits spending such high amounts as those required by cancer treatment in Georgia. On the other hand, the Georgian legislation on healthcare does not provide for funding for treating other country’s citizens. Moreover, private insurance companies cannot conclude agreements with cancer patients, and they cannot even donate painkillers to such patients.

    In the end, the institutions of these two countries doom people to death, Gocha Mirtskhulava concludes, launching in this context a humanitarian call on Georgians, the French people, business people, the medical institution heads and insurance companies to help Catherine and show that human nature is in fact generous and morality is above all laws.

    Catherine Roussell has been in Georgia for three years as a goodwill envoy representing an organisation and runs several bilateral bodies. She got involved in aiding various organisations, orphans, socially deprived persons, pensioners, because — she confesses — she loves Georgia very much. She cannot travel to France because such a trip could lead to complications in her condition. She underwent four surgeries, exhausted all financial resources and is in a terrible situation, as she also has an 11-year-old child to take care of. More…

  • SEECP Foreign Ministers, Regional Cooperation Council Governing Board Meet in Western Town of Pravets

    Pravets, western Bulgaria, May 31 (BTA) – The western town of Pravets hosts the annual meeting of the Regional Cooperation Council’s (RCC) Governing Board and the foreign ministers from the South-East Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) member states.

    The SEECP is an authentic initiative born in Bulgaria, Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov commented. He recalled that the transport and energy connectivity of the countries from the region was among the main priorities. This connectivity adds value not only to the region’s economy, but also to achieving one of the process’ main goals, which is to deepen the integration of SEE countries within the EU, the Bulgarian top diplomat noted. He added that Europe would never be complete without the full EU membership of the Western Balkan countries. More…SEECP

  • Cyprus’ Minister of Education attends the EU Council of Youth, Culture and Education

    The advisory services provided to young people by the Cypriot Youth Board in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture, through the operation of the line 1410, was one of the topics raised in today`s meeting of the EU Youth Council.

    In particular, the chairman of the Youth Council Session, the Dutch Youth and Sports Minister Martin Van Rijn, in his introductory placement, while talking about the collection of the best practices from Member States by the Dutch Presidency, specifically mentioned the good practices submitted by Cyprus, Belgium and Finland.

    Cyprus’ Minister of Education and Culture Costas Kadis, who participated in the Council, referred to the need to involve all relevant governmental and non-governmental organizations in the policy making for the Youth. In this context, he said that the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus, in cooperation with the Cyprus Youth Board (ΟΝΕΚ), promote the development of such an approach, which would be a key pillar in the National Strategy for Youth configuration. He also presented the advisory support services ONEK, i.e. the line 1410, the advisory services named “Proposal” and the program named “Little Bear”, which are actions that are part of this strategy.

    In the Board of Education following the Youth Council`s work, various issues related to the modernization and more generally the role of higher education in Europe, were discussed.

    In his intervention, the Minister of Education said that a top priority of tertiary education should be to create close cooperation between universities and the business world. Universities, during the design and development of new curricula, should take into account the relevant industry and general labor market needs, said Kadis. It would also be ideal, he added, to be able to incorporate in their curricula how to place students in internships in companies. In this way, students acquire skills directly related to the labor market needs, he said.

    In this context, Kadis said that Cyprus has adopted the Functioning of Liaison Offices with Industry (Industry Liaison Offices) in all universities. These Offices, he stressed, facilitate the placement of students in companies for the implementation of their practical training and also to acquire skills that are useful in the labor market.

    Then the Minister of Education informed his colleagues that this period starts a new attempt in Cyprus for the integration of a large number of study programs, special provisions for practice in the productive sector. This initiative, he stressed also includes incentives for businesses to support the students who will be hosted. Meanwhile, the Education Minister said that the Ministry of Education and Culture is in the process of developing the necessary legal framework to support the cooperation of private companies and universities.

    Finally Kadis briefed his colleagues on the two important ministerial meetings to be held in Cyprus. The first is scheduled for the 8-9 of December 2016 and will aim to adopt an Action Plan for the implementation of the Mediterranean Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development. In this meeting Ministers of countries of the Union for the Mediterranean, the EU and representatives of international organizations will participate. The second ministerial meeting will be held on 22-23 March 2017 under the Cypriot Presidency of the Committee of Ministers Council of Europe. The aim of this meeting is to exchange views on how education can promote democratic citizenship and help to tackle extremism.


  • President Iohannis forwards to Justice Minister a prosecution request on four former ministers

    President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday sent to the Justice Minister the prosecution request to probe four former ministers in the Rompetrol II criminal case.

    According to a press release by the Presidential Administration, the head of state has sent the Justice Minister the request of criminal prosecution of Nicolae Mihai Tanasescu, Public Finances Minister in 2000 — 2004; Ioan Dan Popescu, Economy and Commerce Minister in 2003 — 2004; Teodor Gheorghe Sebastian Vladescu, Public Finances Minister in 2005 — 2007 and in 2009 — 2010; and Gheorghe Pogea, Public Finances Minister in 2008 — 2009.

    At the same time, the Prosecutor’s Office with the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ, Supreme Court — author’s note) was informed on these requests. More…

  • The protection of cultural heritage is not a luxury item, UN rapporteur says

    UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune has stressed that the protection of cultural heritage is not a luxury item.

    She was addressing an open discussion at the University of Cyprus entitled “using international law to defend the right of everyone to take part to cultural life.”

    At the centre of the legal regime one finds the Hague Convention and the two protocols Bennoune said pointing out that unfortunately, despite their importance we haven`t seen full ratification.

    “We haven`t seen all states taking on these obligations and this problem is especially serious with the 2nd protocol which only has 68 parties”, she said.

    At the same time she noted that that`s not the only difficulty, adding that even when they have undertaken these obligations they have not always implemented them.

    “For example I was dismayed to learn from cultural heritage professionals that there have reportedly not been any prosecutions at the national level on the basis of the 1954 Convention even-though as we know unfortunately there have been many acts of destruction”, she said.

    The UN Special Rapporteur expressed the point of view that we have to get more states to embrace the legal framework and to implement it.

    “My contribution is to try to develop a human rights approach to cultural heritage,” she explained.

    She also spoke of the need for accountability and of the first case in the International Criminal Court in the Hague for the destruction of cultural heritage. She further highlighted the need to safeguard activists who stand up to protect cultural heritage from being destroyed.

    Bennoune stressed the necessity of allocating sufficient budgetary resources pointing out that “the protection of cultural heritage is not a luxury item.”

    On his part Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexandros Zenon praised Bennoune, noting that she had an active role in supporting the initiative to promote a cross regional statement on the destruction of cultural heritage at the Human Rights Council of the UN in Geneva.

    “Her participation in the panel discussion organised to present the initiative was instrumental in gaining further support and visibility for the statement which was adopted with the votes of 146 countries”, he said noting that the statement had been an initiative by Cyprus and a number of other countries.

    Referring to the Hague Convention and its 2nd Protocol he said he was personally involved in drafting the latter, expressing his disappointment that only a limited number of ratifications have taken place. One can rightly claim that the detrimental impact on human rights by the destruction of cultural heritage has largely been overlooked, he said.

    On his part University of Cyprus Rector Constantinos Christofides said that the matter of cultural heritage is largely overlooked because it is not considered to be a matter of utmost importance, but pointed out that it is much more important than we would like to believe.

    In an era where international cultural heritage monuments are under threat of destruction, like the ancient city of Palmyra, it is important to discuss the value and protection of culture.

    He posed the question, who are we without our cultural identity? How do we connect as a people and as a nation throughout our history? Why do we keep our traditions and how do we see people with different traditions than our own?

    Could we coexist in modern societies without learning to respect and accept the cultural identity of our fellow human beings?


  • First phase of exercise “Argonaut 2016” takes place at old Larnaca airport

    The first phase of the multinational civil-military exercise “Argonaut 2016” took place on Monday at the premises of the old Larnaca airport.

    The exercise is divided in three phases and takes place at the territorial, maritime and aerial area of Larnaca District, within the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus and Nicosia FIR.

    Two national plans of Cyprus, called “Estia” and “Nearchos”, will be tested during the exercise attended by personnel from the National Guard, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC), the Civil Defence, the Cyprus Police and other state agencies of Greece, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, Italy and Hungary.

    One of the scenarios during the first part of the exercise involved the landing at Larnaca airport of an aircraft of the Air Force of Hungary, carrying civilians and injured persons from a war zone in Eastern Mediterranean.

    They were received at a site recently constructed with European Union funds, near the airport control tower.

    Commander Costas Fytiris from the JRCC said that this year the number of participating countries has exceeded previous years and this shows that Cyprus enjoys the trust of European and other countries as regards crisis management in the Middle East.

    He said the exercise has made a good impression on foreign observers.

    Deputy Director of Larnaca Civil Defense Chrysilios Chrysiliou said that the exercise is attended by 19 countries with 180 foreign observers.

    “Today we are simulating the operation of a multinational coordination centre which coordinates the evacuation of civilians from neighboring countries through Cyprus. At the same time we are simulating the operation of foreign embassies in Cyprus and of the country in crisis” he explained.

    The final stage will be concluded on Tuesday, at Larnaca port, in the presence of the country`s political and military leadership and foreign diplomats and observers.


  • JusMin: Dividing SRI’s wiretapping service in three structures not most advantageous solution economy-wise

    Justice Minister Raluca Pruna on Monday said that dividing the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) technical service dealing with wiretappings into three services reporting to Prosecutor’s Office units – the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) and the General Prosecutor’s Office – isn’t the best solution economy-wise.

    “We must have a debate and most likely dividing the existing SRI structure (…) into three units of the Prosecutor’s Office — DNA, DIICOT and the General Prosecutor’s Office — isn’t the most economy-wise advantageous solution. And this is not all, as this infrastructure, as far as I understand, (…) is not an object to be bought and once bought or set up no longer requires maintenance, it needs maintenance, and must be constantly updated, it is a very complex software, it is very difficult to have, in my opinion, three such technical services with the DNA, DIICOT and the General Prosecutor’s Office, and I am certain that, at the Public Prosecution Service level, there are talks to make it more efficient,” Pruna told Europa FM private radio broadcaster in an interview on Monday.

    She mentioned that the Prosecutor’s offices heads have not complained about building cases with SRI wiretapping. The minister added that there is currently a paradox, as prosecutors cannot conclude the criminal prosecution and they must act so as to make this possible.

    “I have seen in the public space that the DNA head prosecutor said that the anticorruption authority needs to consolidate its existing technical service, it must be said that the DNA is the only specialised structure needing something to start from; DIICOT head Horodniceanu also publicly explained what must be done to create a technical service, and the General Prosecutor’s Office is in the same situation,” Raluca Pruna said.

    The Minister pointed out that an evaluation is yet to be done on the impact of Government Ordinance No 6/2016 issued following the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) ruling according to which the Criminal Procedure Code article that allowed the SRI to conduct wiretappings in the cases built by the DNA and other prosecutor’s offices was unconstitutional. More…

  • Applications via Facebook invited for Stelios Awards 2016

    Stelios Philanthropic Foundation is organising for the eighth consecutive year the Stelios Bi-Communal Awards 2016 and submission of applications is now open through Facebook.

    According to a press release, the total amount for this year`s awards is greater than ever before as Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou will be offering for the first time € 500.000, rewarding a total of 50 teams that can win €10.000 each. So far two million euros been awarded since 2009.

    All forms of human cooperation between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots are eligible to apply through Facebook, including business, sciences, arts, sport, NGO work and life. The winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in October 2016 in Nicosia. The deadline for application submission through Facebook is the 15th of July, 2016.

    Notably, for the first time this year, in order to promote more regular contact and co-operation between the two communities with the ultimate objective to promote lasting peace on the island, applications will only be accepted via the “Stelios Philanthropic Foundation” Facebook page online. All applicants are expected to like the page Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, join the group Stelios Cyprus Bi-Communal Awards 2016 that now counts up to 1000 members and make “Facebook friends” with members of the other community on the island.

    Through the page and the group, interested parties will be constantly informed for announcements of actual events at the bi-communal cafes in Nicosia during the year where they can meet members of the other community and apply together. Past winners are always welcome to reapply. Multiple applications of each team member are also welcome with different members of the other community.

    For more details email applications@stelios.com or call +377-9880-1010 during office hours or visit www.stelios.org.


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