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Daily Press Review – 14/2/2020

In the press today:

AKEL: President is institutionally, morally and politically exposed

Main opposition AKEL’s parliamentary spokesman Yiorgos Loukaides yesterday said President Nicos Anastasiades has been left institutionally, morally and politically exposed, referring to his use of a Saudi businessman’s private jet for a family holiday in the Seychelles. The matter was discussed yesterday at the House Watchdog Committee. In a written statement submitted to the Committee, Anastasiades acknowledged that he could have avoided using the private jet, but denied that he was in violation of the Ethics Code (More detail on the report in the Main Press Highlights below). Loukaides said among other that the public has gotten used to the President’s but also the government’s failure to take responsibility for their actions. This has been the case for a number of serious issues, such as the handover of the Co-op to Hellenic Bank and the decision to burden taxpayers with €8b.

 

Randi Zuckerberg, Creator Of Facebook Live, Is Coming To Cyprus For The 1st time

An entrepreneur, investor, bestselling author, and Emmy-nominated tech media personality, Randi Zuckerberg is coming for the first time to our island in the context of Reflect Festival. Randi, sister of Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, was an early employee at Facebook, where she is best known for creating Facebook Live, now used by more than a billion people around the world. She is the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, with the mission of supporting current and future entrepreneurs through investment, mentorship, and media. Reflect festival is a future-focused event organised for the 3rd time in Limassol, the largest in the region. It will connect more than 3000 people next to the beachfront of the historic Old Town. 4 distinct stages will cover topics spanning from future of technology through future of business, health, self-development, money, power, sustainability, society, and much more. 70 presenters from all around the world will come, including world-renowned experts. At Reflect, attendees will have the chance to see a colourful mix of exceptional, innovative and inspiring people such as Randi Zuckerberg, Claude Silver, the Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia, David Bizer the Founder & CEO at Talent Fountain, a boutique consulting firm focused on talent acquisition, management, and start-up culture, Chelsea Chen, co-founder at Emotech, who is building the very first robot with personality in the world and many more. Reflect partners for this year are Elias Neocleous law firm, Hellenic Bank, KPMG , Cablenet, Impactech, CIPA, the Research Promotion Centre, Cyprus Youth Organization, Limassol Municipality, GAP Vassilopoulos and many more.

 

 

 

Road opens for lawsuits against Cyprus

The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes has ruled that it has the authority to hear the case of a collective lawsuit by 956 Greek depositors and bondholders against the Republic of Cyprus, seeking compensation over the heavy losses they suffered during the 2013 economic crisis. The ruling was made by the International Centre, which falls under the authority of the World Bank, on 7 February. It said the Greek depositors and bondholders’ claims are subject to the same provisions under which the Republic of Cyprus’ rulings were issued for cases against the banks in 2013, and they suffered similar losses. Therefore, it said, the cases had adequate consistency to be heard as a collective lawsuit in a single arbitration, under the jurisdiction of the International Centre itself.

 

  1. Mavrides’ report for the ECB adopted

Cypriot MEP Costas Mavrides met with European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, on the side-lines of her first meeting with the European Parliament plenary recently. At the same time, a report by Mavrides, which included various matters concerning the Eurozone and particularly Cyprus, was approved by the vast majority of the EP. The report tackled the need to complete the banking union with a Europe-wide guarantee of deposits, the very low or negative deposit rates, and lending to small businesses, among other.

 

1 in 10 at risk of poverty

One in 10 employees aged 18 and above in the EU was at risk of poverty in 2018, according to a Eurostat report. Over the past few years, this percentage increased from 8.6% in 2018 to 9.5% in 2018. In Cyprus, the percentage was 7.4% (7.9% for men and 6.8% for women). Part-time and contract workers were most at risk of suffering poverty, with 15.7% of them at risk of poverty in the EU, compared with 7.8% full-timers.

 

Economic policy forum by AKEL

Main opposition AKEL is organising a two-day Economic Policy Forum on 14-15 February, entitled: “Building the economy of the next decade”. It will take place at the Filoxenia Conference Centre in Nicosia and will tackle the most important aspects of the Cyprus and global economy, with focus on developing a substantive dialogue on the challenges the Cyprus economy is facing, the risks for workers and businesses, and the need to address the growing uncertainty and insecurity society is currently experiencing.

 

Dynamic presence of Cyprus at the EGYPS

Cyprus made a dynamic presence with a large delegation of at last 20 executives from 12 Cypriot companies under the auspices of the Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company (CHC) at this year’s Egypt Petroleum Exhibition (EGYPS) that opened its doors on February 11, 2020 at the Cairo International Exhibition Center. The theme of this year’s exhibition that each time brings together a large number of industry representatives from many countries of the world, was covering tomorrow’s energy needs both in the Mediterranean as well as North Africa. Among the representatives that took part from Cyprus were DP World Limassol, EDT Offshore,  Fameline Energy, Hyperion Group, IESC Innovating Environmental Solutions Center Ltd, Multimarine Services Ltd. In the work and in the general presentation of the Cypriot kiosks, the presence and general contribution of Invest Cyprus Agency was significant. Additionally, during a special event, Toula Onoufriou, President of the CHC made a presentation.

 

New troubles for the ports

According to Phileleftheros, 80 hourly paid workers gave 10 days’ notice to the Port Authority to review their pensions fund, otherwise they will proceed with strikes. The risk of a new labor unrest at the ports of Limassol and Larnaca is again a reality, with respect to the unjustified delays, as advocated by the unions, on the part of the Ports Authority and the Ministry of Transport to proceed with the approval of the welfare fund for the hourly paid workers. The 80 hourly paid workers at the department of cleaning and maintenance, the security guards, and the secretarial staff during an extraordinary held general meeting decided to give ten days’ notice to the Port Authority to expedite procedures for implementing their provident fund. They will otherwise proceed with strike measures. Their main demand is the immediate submission to the House for final approval the relevant Articles for incorporating the provision of a provident fund to the hourly workers.

 

Important developments with the presence of French aircraft carrier in Limassol and navy ships in Larnaca

Significant developments are taking place in the country, with the French aircraft carrier in Limassol and navy warships in Larnaca from France, USA, and Belgium. It is interesting to note that the Italian navy warship is gone but four other navy warships are coming with flags from France, USA, and Belgium at Larnaca port. At the same time, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will dock at the Limassol Port.

 

Mobilization to prevent pollution

With the summer season approaching and given that every year the sea of Limassol including the tourist areas are facing problems of pollution, the Municipality of Limassol and other relevant authorities are already mobilized in an effort to prevent the recurrence of such phenomena. \in the context of this effort, a meeting was held yesterday at the Limassol City Hall in the presence of representatives and stakeholders involved during which the present situation and some problems that still exist, and measures already in place have been reviewed.  At the same time responsibilities were assigned to the various officials to proceed with the necessary works. As mentioned, the management of the Old Port marina, and Limassol Marina will be invited to a special meeting in order to confirm that they apply the necessary control prevention procedures and surveillance of boats on their arrival and departure.

 

EastMed not among the companies’ priorities

A statement at Reuters news agency by Yigal Landau, chief executive of the Israeli company Ratio Oil Exploration, which owns 15% of Leviathan’s reserves, sparked mixed comments yesterday in Cyprus as to the true intentions of the companies. Israeli natural gas fields. Mr Landau said broadly that his company in partnership with Noble Energy (39.66% of Leviathan’s rights) and Delek (45.33%) are considering the prospect of constructing a floating gas liquefaction plant (FLNG) and is in contact with LNG Golar (based in Bermuda) and EXMAR (based in Belgium). Although no definitive decision has been made yet and without overlooking the fact that (new) floating liquefaction technology is an expensive option for the time being, it is inferred from the Landau statements, as well as recent statements by other officials of the Leviathan consortium, that their priority is liquefaction – and possibly floating liquefaction – and not the other options, including the EastMed pipeline. It is well known that despite the signature of the transnational agreement on EastMed by Israeli, Greek and Cypriot leaders, companies with Leviathan’s rights are not enthusiastic about this option, as they are allegedly not optimistic about its viability. Likewise, EastMed is considered along the same lines by the companies that own rights in the Cyprus EEZ. While they do not exclude the possibility of a detailed techno-economic study to prove (in about two years) that the pipeline is a viable option, they are in the meantime focused on their other options, which they consider most appropriate at present. According to Reuters, Mr Landau said that the objective of the Leviathan consortium is to take, by 2020, the investment decision to further expand Leviathan’s production and marketing of gas. In Cyprus it has been commented (mainly on social media) that Israel is autonomously focusing on floating liquefaction, neglecting the option of cooperating with Cyprus and the companies operating here for inland basin liquefaction, at least theoretically, at the moment, offers EastMed.

 

OKYPY started paying medicine suppliers

The complaints of medicine suppliers about OKYPY (state health services organisation) not paying their invoices seem to have paid off. Following SFEK’s (Association of Cyprus Pharmaceutical Companies) public warnings, OKYPY proceeded with the necessary procedures to pay their invoices. OKYPY spokesperson Charalampos Charilaou said that the delay was due to “internal technical difficulties” which emerged from transferring invoices. The necessary procedure was carried out and the invoices have started getting paid. SFEK president Avgoustinos Potamitis said “the unpaid invoices of medicines and consumable medical products total to €1-1.5m and that our members must be paid in order to proceed with new orders and ensure adequate supplies of medicines and medical products in the Cypriot market”. He added “I don’t want to get into a public discussion about who is at fault”. The SFEK president also referred to the problem that has been observed lately with stocks of medicines still in OKYPY storages. “There are some stocks. The Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) sent a letter informing us that no arrangements were made for us to take these medicines and distribute them in the private sector”.

 

The reason behind the increased contribution

The recent increase of additional contribution to GHS’ medicines – the majority is widely used – has caused an uproar among GHS beneficiaries. Citizens are dissatisfied and appear to have been uninformed in regards to these changes in charges, and pharmacists have received a lot of complaints, while they try to explain to beneficiaries why they now have to pay more. There is in fact, an explanation on the increased contribution (the difference in price of the medicine covered by the GHS and what the beneficiary wants to get). Among other factors, it is attributed to the inclusion of new cheaper medicines into the GHS catalogues. Considering that the GHS covers the cheaper medicine of its category, some medicines which were completely covered by the system, are now offered with a small contribution to their price. Other medicines whose contribution has increased is due to the difference between their price and the price of the cheapest drug in their category. It’s noted that at the beginning of the GHS there were 1,058 medicines included in the catalogue, while today the catalogue includes 1,282 products.

 

Chaos at state hospitals

Despite approaching the second phase of the GHS, which will include inpatient care and the autonomation and smooth operation of state hospitals will be essential, they are currently in a state of chaos. This is the message that 3,000 health professionals of state hospitals, after convening yesterday, sent to the Ministry of Health. Their message, similar to that of doctors, complaints over staff shortages, collapse of clinics, the insufficiency of buildings and health centres, as well as the chaos at the A&E Department. The problems of the state health services organisation (OKYPY) are piling up and it appears there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The 3,000 health professionals (nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists, radiologists, chemists, pharmacists, ergotherapists) report that they can’t even communicate and coordinate with the organisation in order to solve the large problems they are facing at state hospitals, and they are sending a letter to the Health Minister asking for his help.

 

Meeting between OKYPY and doctors next week

A new meeting will take place next week between state doctors’ association and OKYPY, so as to continue the discussion of incentives for specialty doctors of the public sector, for their services offered in the framework of the GHS. OKYPY spokesperson Charlampos Charilaou said that the invitations for the meeting will be sent to the associations over the weekend. He added, “all stakeholders have pledged to the Minister of Health that the dialogue will continue and will conclude by early April”.

 

Kadis: Transporting products through the crossing points is permitted

The Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Costas Kadis said that transporting agricultural products through the crossing points is permitted based on the Green Line Regulation, provided that all necessary procedures are followed. He said, “if agricultural products are transported through the occupied areas, there are procedures that must be followed regarding pesticides or the safety of products passing through the Green Line. The crossing points undergo checks and a statutory framework allows these products in the areas controlled by the Republic”.

 

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