The Attorney General of Cyprus, George Savvidis, met with the Commissioner of Justice of the European Union, Didier Reynders, on Thursday at the Legal Service to discuss several topics of mutual concern. The strengthening of the Office of the Attorney General and the sanctions against Russian and Belarusian entities in Cyprus were the main topics of discussion.
In his statement after the meeting, Savvidis expressed his joy about meeting with Commissioner Reynders and said that the meeting was very constructive. They discussed the European Commission's annual report on the Rule of Law for the current and last year, and he explained to the Commissioner that the Legal Service is fully aligned with the recommendations of the report.
Savvidis added that they also discussed the issue of sanctions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the actions of the Legal Service as a result of reports on the Cyprus Investment Program. He said that they will continue to be in touch on various issues that arose during the meeting, and he is sure that the excellent cooperation between their offices will continue in the future.
Commissioner Reynders said that both sides are working to strengthen the Office of the Prosecutor General, as the recommendations of the European Commission include the allocation of more financial and human resources, as well as digital tools to fight corruption in the country. He said that it is important to see that real investment is being made in such an independent body for various investigations, and the debate on the matter will continue in the coming months.
Reynders also said that the two sides continue to work to review some of the decisions made in the past under the citizenship investment plan, and it is essential to ensure that inquiries are made into the issue, and it is possible to establish a clear procedure for the possible review of certain decisions.
The Justice Commissioner added that due to the Russian attack on Ukraine last year, it is vital to strengthen the sanctions. The Commission is trying to get more information from Cyprus, mainly from the government and less from the Attorney General. He added that the Commission's desire is to ensure the possibility of freezing assets belonging to oligarchs and Russian and Belarusian entities. He said that with so many large Russian investments in Cyprus in the past, it is difficult to understand why assets of only a little more than 100 million euros have been frozen in the country.
Finally, Reynders called on the Attorney General to conduct the necessary investigations to combat any violation of sanctions, an issue he said he would also discuss later in the day with members of parliament.