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21 June, 2024
 
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Parliament cancels smart meter contract to save EU funds

Lawmakers support president's referral over SME law breaches

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The Cypriot Parliament has unanimously accepted the President's referral of a law passed on April 25 that exempts innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from paying certain fees and rights under the Companies Law. The President cited breaches of EU law, the Constitution, and principles of equality and separation of powers as reasons for the referral.

DISY MP Kyriakos Hatzigiannis, Chairman of the Energy, Trade, and Industry Committee, acknowledged the referral but argued that the law should support start-ups, noting Cyprus's low ranking in start-up support. Akel MP Giorgos Loukaides echoed the need for stronger measures to support start-ups.

Parliament cancels smart meter contract to save EU funds

In a related session, Parliament also unanimously passed a bill to cancel a contract awarded by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) to CYTA for the supply and installation of 400,000 smart meters. The urgency of the bill stems from the risk of losing 35 million euros from the EU Recovery and Resilience Fund if the smart meters are not installed.

On March 26, the Administrative Court annulled the tender, ruling that the Telecommunications Service Law restricts HTIK’s responsibilities to telecommunications services, not device communication. An appeal against this decision has been filed.

The new law amends the Telecommunications Service Law to expand HTIK’s functions, allowing CYTA to participate in related markets and activities in communications, media, and information technology.

Support for CYTA amid competitive pressures

DIKO MP Christiana Erotokritou, Chair of the Finance Committee, praised the urgency of the bill and stressed the importance of public organizations being competitive. DISY MP Onoufrios Koulla highlighted the necessity brought by the court decision, while Akel MP Giorgos Loukaides emphasized maintaining healthy competition without preferential treatment.

DIPA– Cooperation MP Alekos Tryfonidis and Ecologists' Movement MP Stavros Papadouris supported the bill, with Papadouris criticizing the outdated legislation. Socialist MP Kostis Efstathiou agreed with the need for updated laws and criticized Parliament for lagging behind in addressing legal gaps.

The bill’s second part, expanding the Telecommunications Authority’s scope, was not passed but will be reviewed when Parliament reconvenes.

[With information sourced from CNA]

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