The appointment ceremony of the new Minister of Labour and Social Insurance Kyriacos Koushos, the new Deputy Minister to the President, Petros Demetriou and the new Director of the President's Office Pantelis Pantelides took place on Monday at the Presidential Palace, in the presence of the President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades.
President Anastasiades described today's decision to appoint an official as "the most unpleasant of those I have received during my more than nine years as President because, inadvertently, I am obliged by the Constitution to replace a person who has honored me with her friendship, a universally acclaimed colleague who has graced the cabinet and made my vision of a welfare state a reality."
While assuring the new Labour Minister of his support, President Anastasiades underlined the difficulties he, as new Labour Minister, would face in his new position, most importantly because he had replaced an esteemed colleague who was very much identified with her successful actions and programs at the Ministry.
The President went on to say that since assuming power, the highest priority of the Government has been to restructure the State's services and policies to achieve a welfare state that would respond to the needs of citizens, especially those in need of State care.
"Thanks to the determination and methodical approach of the late Zeta, through a targeted and coherent policy, it was possible not only to rationalize the entire welfare system but to strengthen the protection grid for our vulnerable citizens through radical reforms”, he stressed.
He further noted that some plans remain unfulfilled as a result of the untimely loss of Emilianidou, such as the establishment of the national minimum wage, the reform of the Pension System, the legislative regulation of parental leave for those with children up to eight years old, the Legislative Regulation of Teleworking and the implementation of the National Plan "Cyprus Tomorrow" through which political and investment actions amounting to more than 315 million euros are envisaged, plans that, as he said, "will further strengthen the social protection grid that every modern state must provide to its citizens".
Addressing Petros Demetriou, the President of the Republic praised his professionalism and his contribution during the performance of his duties so far and said he was confident that he would continue in the same way in his new position and would contribute to effective planning and decision-making on all issues related to governance and especially the welfare state.
Regarding the appointment of Pantelis Pantelides, the President said that from his position as Director of the Office of the President he will contribute significantly to the smooth performance of the President's duties.
In his address on behalf of all the appointees, Koushos thanked the President of the Republic and assured him that they will continue in their new positions with the same zeal and dedication, adding that there is still a lot to be done, and industrial peace must be maintained, jobs must be safeguarded and workers must be protected.
The appointments were followed by the handover ceremony of the Deputy Ministry by the new Minister of Labour Kyriacos Koushios to the former Director of the Office of the President, Petros Demetriou, for whom Koushos said that he had the opportunity to recognize his skills and diligence, as well as his support for the President of the Republic.
In turn, Demetriou thanked the President for his continued confidence in him with his reappointment to the very honorable position of Deputy Minister to the President.
"The time remaining until the completion of the President's term may not be long, but the evaluation of the government's work, and even more so its implementation, whether it concerns the great reform effort that is being carried out, the development planning of the Republic or the President's legacy, the "Cyprus Tomorrow" Plan, are the main priorities both for the governance and the further progress and prosperity of the country," he added.
At the same time, he thanked Pantelides for his support and help over the years, describing him as the calm and rational voice that can guide one safely.
For his part, the new Director of the Office of the President also thanked the President of the Republic for his confidence and expressed the hope that the smooth cooperation of the past nine years with all the government officials, colleagues in the Presidential Office, the Secretary of the Cabinet and all members of the Cabinet will continue to finalize the goals of his programs.