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25 July, 2024
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Christodoulides' strong message: Ignore sirens, focus on governance

Ministers step up amidst swirl of criticism


The swearing-in and assumption of duties of the new ministers and officials of the government took place today (10/01), at the Presidential Palace.

It is reminded that on Monday the President of the Republic Nikos Christodoulidis announced a partial reshuffle, replacing the ministers of Health, Agriculture, Defense, Justice and the deputy minister of Innovation with Michalis Damianos, Maria Panagiotou, Vasilis Palmas, Marios Hartsiotis and Nikodimos Damianou respectively.

In addition, the President of the Republic assigned the director of his diplomatic office Marilena Raouna, the deputy ministry of European Affairs, appointed his close associate Panagiotis Palate Commissioner of Citizen, Commissioner of Environment Antonia Theodosiou and Commissioner of Mountainous Areas Charalambos Christofina.

It is noted that after the ceremony of swearing-in of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Commissioners, the ceremonies of handing over and taking over of the Ministries, Deputy Ministries will take place.

It is noted that the ceremony was attended, among others, by the entire Ministerial Council, the President of DISY and the Parliament Annita Dimitriou, the President of EDEK Marinos Sizopoulos, Chrysanthos Savvidis on behalf of DIKO, the Attorney General Giorgos Savvidis and the First Lady Filippa Karsera.

Christodoulides: Close your ears to the sirens, that's what I do too

After the assurance of the new members of the Government, the President of the Republic, in his speech, said the following:

"I welcome today the new members of the Council of Ministers and the new Commissioners, who take over from their predecessors, with the mandate to intensify and accelerate the effort to implement the government program that has been in the process of implementation for months.

An ambitious and bold Program that has at its core the Human and his better quality of life in his daily life, in all areas of policy.

I address the new members of the Government, newly appointed Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Commissioners, with respect and a suggestion: To work tirelessly, with appetite, study, to be informed about all the issues of your portfolio and to rely on the experienced and hard-working technocrats. To always have up-to-date knowledge of the issues of your portfolio and contact with the citizens and all those affected by our policies.

The position you take is a position of duty, service to the citizen and the public interest and requires dedication and personal sacrifices. It also requires you to be a model leader, not only in terms of work, but also in terms of your ethos. Remember that our judge is the people, our compass is the Constitution, the laws in force and our European and international obligations. We are all accountable only to the Cypriot people and no one else, we serve the public and not the private interest, and we will be judged by the result. Our work is not easy at all, and when the old changes, the resistance to those who are used to it or serve them is great. I am sure that this will not scare you.

I wish and publicly thank the outgoing members of the government scheme for the cooperation we had, but also for the courage to participate in a government scheme without a given party support and with an ambitious and innovative program. I am grateful for their effort and dedication and I wish from my heart good continuation and success of their goals.

On the occasion, I would like to point out my satisfaction, and thank the Ministers and my associates for the very important work that has been produced in just ten months and for the fact that solutions have already been launched in years of problems that plague the citizen. Solutions for improving the quality of life of citizens and supporting households and businesses.

- Very indicatively, these first ten months, among many others: We established the national minimum wage at 1000 euros.
- We regulated the issue of ATA, which benefits 180,000 workers in the private and public sector, ensuring industrial peace.
- We improved the operation of the AEP of the General Hospital of Nicosia and proceeded with the operation of private AEPs in Nicosia and Limassol.
- We promoted the new system of evaluation of students.
- We started the pilot application of the institution of the nurse in schools of remote areas.
- We addressed the problem of dangerous apartment buildings in refugee settlements through the program "ktiZO", with a total expenditure of 110 million euros.
- We announced and implemented the unified housing policy, one of the largest in intensity and extent policies in our country, to ensure affordable housing with purchase or rent.
- We support households from the consequences of expensive, through actions totaling 196 million euros.
- We implemented a holistic approach to migration, which brings measurable results, making our country an unattractive destination.

- We completed and strengthened the legislative framework that regulates the problem of foreclosures, providing a safety net for our vulnerable fellow citizens.
- We implemented the Rent for Dose Plan for the protection of the main residence of vulnerable households.
- We exempted from VAT food and basic necessities.
- We established the Advisory Council for appointments to the Administrative Boards of Semi-Governmental Organizations, through a transparent and meritocratic process, putting an end to outdated practices of decades.
- We put into operation what we promised, the electronic platform for the Solidarity Fund.
- We re-established what we promised, the poaching trap.
- We promoted improvement projects to address the overcrowding in prisons.
- We proceeded with the establishment and staffing of a special sector of Environmental Controls.

You are members of the Government from today. Members of a strong team of capable and honest people who undertook to implement an innovative program that will bring the Human to the center. His health, his education, his work, his security.

In March 2023, I took over the governance of the country with full sense of responsibility and absolute dedication and I was fortunate to choose capable and honest associates and members of the Council of Ministers. I take this opportunity, at the time we welcome the new members and Commissioners, to thank them all publicly. I mentioned earlier telegraphically the work that we performed with excellent cooperation and hard work until today and I have no doubt that the first samples of writing outline that from today we move forward with you even stronger.

I lead an innovative government, which has a clear plan, and will take Cyprus, as promised, forward and high, with pride.

The work that has already been achieved in education, migration, economy, work, makes me even more optimistic for the results that you will see in the future. Let the old resist and work without expecting any reward. The reward will come only through the verification of the results of our work by the Society. I repeat that only there we are accountable.

We remain dedicated to our work that will be beneficial for the many and not for the few, and will be based on the principles of transparency, meritocracy and justice.

You all know very well that we do not carry any burden or dependence, our goal is the now and the people, and we have no hidden agenda.

That is why we gave a hand of friendship and cooperation to all parties and political forces, because yes, we believe in collectivity and the results of cooperation.

In closing, I would like to address the new and old members of the Government and all my associates:

The power that our people have given us for the governance of the country is temporary and the expectations are very high. The months pass and the work must be produced smoothly. With dedication and ethos, with decisiveness and courage. For the Cyprus that we deserve. "

On behalf of the new members of the Government, the Minister of Defense Mr. Vasilis Palmas said the following:

"Your Excellency Mr. President, on behalf of all the colleagues who take over our duties today, I thank you for the honor you do us by appointing us to these so important positions. With a sense of high responsibility, we take over today the portfolios that you assign us, recognizing that these duties reflect the confidence that the Cypriot people themselves have shown in your person.

With full dedication, good administration and having as a focus the human being, we will implement the program of governance which essentially constitutes the social contract that you have signed with the people.

The implementation of the program will be our primary goal and ambition, always guided by the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, the laws in force and the international Treaties to which we have committed as a state.

Knowing very well that the power we have in our hands arises from the people themselves, our duty is the social benefit and not the service of the few. Our concern is to govern with transparency and accountability, gaining the trust of the Cypriot people and leading our homeland to progress and prosperity.

In today's era, with the so difficult conditions and the plethora of challenges that we all have to face, it is our belief that with dedication to duty, hard work and persistence in the effort, we will prove worthy of the society of citizens.

Taking over our duties today, we are also called upon to contribute with all our forces to the liberation and reunification of our homeland.

Having full awareness of the weight of our mission, we promise to live up to your expectations and this supreme honor that you make to each and every one of us separately. "

Vasilis Palmas: Our concern is to serve with transparency

On behalf of all the new members of the Government, the Minister of Defense Vasilis Palmas said:

"With a sense of high responsibility, we take over our portfolios. With full dedication, we will implement the governance program. Knowing that the power we have in our hands comes from the people, our duty is the social benefit. Our concern is to serve with transparency. In today's era, it is our belief that with dedication to duty, hard work and persistence, we will prove worthy of the society of citizens.

Why Marilena Raouna did not get a portfolio

Marilena Raouna was not appointed as Deputy Minister of European Affairs at today's ceremony of assurance of the new Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Commissioners, following the decision of the President of the Republic for reshuffle.

Marilena Raouna did not get her appointment as Deputy Minister because tomorrow the law for the creation of a deputy ministry of European affairs must pass through the Council of Ministers.

It should be noted that her position as Deputy Minister is temporary (ad hoc) having a duration of 1.5 years.

Citizen Commissioner: Primary goal is participatory governance

In statements to reporters, at the Presidential Palace, the new Commissioner of Mountain Communities Mr. Charalambos Christofinas said that "I want to thank the excellent Mr. President for the trust he showed in my person to appoint me as Commissioner of mountain communities. I know very well that the President of the Republic has an ambitious program regarding our mountain communities and what I want to assure from our side is that we will do whatever is humanly possible for every inhabitant of the countryside to feel that significant improvement that he expects for the quality of his life.

The President of the Republic has a quite ambitious program, we will be here day and night to implement it and we hope that at the end of the day the policy that will be implemented will reach every household in the countryside.

As for the inhabitants of the mountains, what I want to say is that personally I know both their anxieties and their worries from the first dawn that they will start to go to their work until the afternoon and the evening and the anxiety they have until the last member of the family arrives at home.

The main pillars of the President's policy for the mountain communities are the road network that is a priority, health and education.

With these three axes of policy we move forward as well as with all the rest we hope for a good cooperation with all the members of the Government to bring the best possible result for the inhabitants of the mountainous areas. "

Photos from the swearing-in

The new Minister of Defence, Vassilis Palmas

The new Minister for Health Michael Damianos

The new Minister of Justice Marios Hartsiotis

The new Minister of Agriculture, Maria Panayiotou

The new Deputy Minister of Innovation Nicodemos Damianou

The new Environment Commissioner Antonia Theodosiou

The new Commissioner for Mountains, Charalambos Christofinas

Photos from the confirmation ceremony

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