Newsroom / CNA
An impromptu meeting was held by the Parliamentary Committee to discuss demographic issues in Cyprus. Of great concern was the issue of low birth rates in the country.
According to the Chairman of the Committee, ELAM MP Linos Papagiannis, “The evidence shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a problem. The birth rate in Cyprus is currently at 1.3 (meaning 1.3 births per women). Official statistics signify that when the rate falls below 1.5 then it is considered a problem for the state.”
What was “particularly worrying”, Mr. Papagiannis said, was data that showed 38% of births in 2019 came from foreign mothers. Estimates for 2020 show an increase in that number.
"The evidence shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a problem." -Papagiannis
When asked if, based on what was said during the session, the attendance of foreign children in schools is considered a threat, Mr. Papagiannis expressed his personal view that no child alone is a threat to anyone. But when the statistics show a very high percentage of foreign children, whether they are asylum seekers or third-country nationals or community members, then there is a problem. And if we take for granted that the birth rate is at 1.3 then it is clear that there is a problem," he said.
"What will count is if some proclamations are finally made, because if we continue at this pace soon the population of Cyprus will be a minority in its own homeland," he concluded.
In his own statements, DISY MP and Vice President of the committee, Prodromos Alampritis, also spoke about the decline of birth rates in Cyprus. “The fertility rate in Cyprus is at 1.3 and experts consider that below the threshold of 1.5, which is an indication of low fertility,” he said.
He continued to state that, based on the data presented at the session, the percentage of people over 65 has exceeded the percentage of people under 14. In particular, people over 65 amounted to 16.3% of the population while people under of 14 years amounted to 16% of the population.
According to Mr. Alampritis, measures are now being proposed such as the increase of maternity leave for the 2nd child at 5 months and for the 3rd child at 6 months. Paid parental leave is also being studied, while the Recovery and Sustainability Plan includes a provision for a child care center and coverage for nursery expenses.
Furthermore, DIKO MP Zacharias Koulias also described the whole issue as critical, considering that Cyprus is plagued by a low birth rate and faces immigration issues. As it stands, immigrants exceed 4% of the Cyprus population compared to 1% of the EU average, according to the statements made by the Minister of Interior who had raised the issue. "This means that the risk to the security of the state and especially to the future of Hellenism is very important," he said.
The issue will be discussed in the presence of the Ministers of Finance, Interior, Labor and the Deputy Minister of Welfare on September 28th.