House President says Parliament will set up its own law office

House President says Parliament will set up its own law office

Nicosia, September 19, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

House President Demetris Syllouris has said that the Parliament will set up its own law office, adding that he will appoint, probably next week, an informal legal council comprising three prominent lawyers, who will be advisers to the House President without pay.

Replying to questions during a press conference for the presentation of the House of Representative’s activity report regarding the Fifth and Ad Hoc Session of the Tenth Parliamentary Term, Syllouris noted that this body will not be binding for any MP or party, adding that the parliament`s law office will comprise current House staff, while external associates will be used when needed.

Asked about the demand to set up a Committee on the Cyprus problem, Syllouris recalled that this issue has been discussed during a meeting of parliamentary party leaders, noting that they must be really cautious with setting up new committees.

He noted that this does not mean that there is no need to discuss the Cyprus problem in parliament, however, as he stressed, the Cyprus problem can be discussed more effectively in many other ways and in many other committees.

Syllouris said that during the tenth parliamentary term, parliamentary committees held 650 meetings and examined and tabled before the plenary for voting 220 bills, out of which 184 were approved.

Moreover 136 law proposals were examined and tabled before the plenary, out of which 75 were voted in and 74 regulations, out of which 73 were approved.

Syllouris noted that the parliament`s legislative work was reduced compared to previous sessions due to the fact that the country exited the Memorandum of Understanding with the Troika.

He noted that an important issue which the previous and the current parliament discussed is the need to improve and modernize the functioning of the parliamentary committees and to this end an Ad Hoc Committee has been set up with a view to upgrade the parliament`s operation.

Referring to the international relations, he noted that one of the main pillars of the House tasks is to inform foreign officials on the Cyprus problem and promote the intrests of the Republic of Cyprus. He added that other important issues on the agenda of House meetings were the result of the referendum in the UK for the country`s exit from the EU, the terrorist attacks of the Islamic State in Europe and the Middle East, and the situation in Turkey.

Syllouris noted that the House dealt with issues relating to the harmonization of legislation with the acquis communautaure, it followed the decision making process in the EU, and examined documents from EU institutions. As he said, out of 99 bills and regulations on harmonisation with the acquis, 51 bills and 28 regulations were passed by the plenary.

Syllouris referred to the fact that the House plenary convenes now every Friday morning and not on Thursday afternoon, noting that this enables the implementation of a new timetable for Committees meetings.

The House President said that there are currently 16 parliamentary committees, expressing the view that their number must be reduced to 12-13, so that the parliament can function in a better way.

Moreover, he noted that the number of parties participating in the committees could be reduced and that if both these things were to happen, the parliament would become more effective.

As regards proposals for the House premises, Syllouris said that one concerns the use of the building of the Municipal Theatre, used by the Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC) before its roof collapsed, and the other the construction of a new building at the entrance of Nicosia.

Source: Cyprus News Agency