GCC Press Review 20 May 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Plan B ready without Parliament approval

Cash dries out in real economy after withdrawal of bill for guarantees. OEB (Employers and Industrialists Federation) and KEBE (Chamber of Commerse and Industry) fear closures, lay-offs and extended recession. Opposition parties lay the blame on the government.

  • They open churches and beaches: For a swim with a cross in hand – Epidemiological Committee at the Presidency also concerning airports
  • Officials consider a decree: Unexpected energy crisis
  • Coronavirus: Only one case
  • Nicosia Municipality: What they say about CVAR

Phileleftheros

Check mate through KEDIPES

State owned (asset management company) started process of selling performing loans worth almost 1.2 billion euro. Revised measures for the economy: Subsidised interest rates – Direct support to businesses – Utilisation of European tools.

  • Loosening sped up: Churches and beaches open on May 23rd
  • July 1st for tourists: Plans to open airports on June 9th
  • Prepares new incursion with refugees: Economic downturn pressures Erdogan
  • Scabies invaded in migrant center
  • They got the Severis building in a haste for 1.5 million

Haravgi

Their arrogance leaves the economy helpless

(Government) didn’t get its way and withdrew the bill. Parliament was ready to vote for it with amendments. Shots by parties against the government.

  • The “king” of Demadona was also burned
  • Miserable conditions in “Pournara” center brought apperance of scabies

Cyprus Mail

Tourism ready from mid June

Cyprus hopes to recoup around 30 per cent of last year’s numbers.

Alithia

We return faster to our normal lives!

Loosening of measures sped up. Tomorrow primary schools and high schools open, SMSs and limits in transits are aboilished. Beaches, betting shops open and going to church is allowed from Saturday. Opening of airports comes earlier (first week of June) and perhaps of checkpoints as well.

  • Yesterday: Only one case before the big step

Main News

Loosening of coronavirus measures speeds up due to limited new cases

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Internal Security, Human Rights, CBMs

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that most measures limiting movement are going to be lifted on Thursday, after the government decided to speed up its roadmap. The decision was taken by the Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday, due to the fact that the number of new cases has been drastically reduced.

On Thursday, the system of limited transits approved through SMS and the nightly curfew are abolished. Groups of up to ten people can meet at homes and schools reopen. Cafes and restaurants will also reopen but only with tables outside.

On Saturday beaches will be open to the public, as well as betting shops. Citizens will once again be able to attend religious services.

June 1st will bring the reopening of libraries, museums, archaelogical sites and ports.

The government is also reported to be considering reopening airports sooner than expected and allowing travel on the first week of June. President Anastasiades will discuss the issue of reopening airports, and possibly checkpoints, in a meeting with the team of the government’s epidemiologists on Wednesday.

Politis reports that virologist Leontios Kostrikkis pointed out in a statement that the only way to confirm the epidemiological situation in the occupied areas is through the bicommunal Technical Committee for Health. Kostrikkis said that the G/C experts will send specific questions to the T/C experts through the committee, in order to collect the necessary data that will allow the G/C side to assess the optimal time for reopening the checkpoints.

According to information cited by the newspapers, the committee of ministers tasked with handling the coronavirus response, has drafted a proposal that will allow travel from all countries. However, the obligations and the parameters for each country will be different and will depend on the epidemiological situation in that country.

The Ministry of Health announced that only one new case was detected on Tuesday in the government-controlled areas.

The dailies also report, citing T/C media, that coronavirus-related measures are being loosened also in the occupied areas starting with the lifting of the ban on movements during the day, starting Monday. Beaches reopen on Wednesday and people can attend religious services starting on May 24th.


Nicosia Municipality responds to critisisms over CVAR purchase

Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros, Politis
CBMs

OVERVIEW

Phileleftheros reports that the decision of the Nicosia Municipality to buy the building housing the Costas and Rita Severi Center for Visual Arts and Research (CVAR) for 1.5 million euro, has caused the reaction of certain members of the municipal council.

In an announcement on Tuesday, the municipality pointed out that the museum will continue to be funded by private donors, grants and funding from Norway Grants. The Municipality also pointed out that the process to purchase the property had begun on November 2019, and that its inclusion in the budget for projects towards the revical of the Green Line area was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in January.

The municipal council members are reported to have asked for the postponment of the meeting during which the purchase of the property was to be put on the vote. They also cast doubt on the assessment that the building can be priced at 1.5 million given that it has been categorised as a museum and cannot be put to any different use. They point out that despite the claim by the Municipality that there are two assessments which value the property even higher, they have not yet seen these assessments.

The same members also pointed out that it is not clear who will be charged with the buidling’s maintainance. Another question posed is whether the amount will be deducted from the overall budget for projects to revive the Green Line area.

The Municipality points out in its announcement that the proposal to buy the building was approved on April 2nd with 16 votes for and five abstentions. The Municipality also notes that the museum will continue to operate as before, promoting Cypriot culture and bicommunal programmes.

Three councilors, Kyriakos Tsimillis, Valerios Danielides and Olga Maroudia disagreed with the sale and abstained during the vote. Phileleftheros reports that there were disagreements also by other councillors who were not able to vote via teleconferencing and were not able to attend the physical meeting.

In a post on Facebook, Olga Maroudia said that the government cannot give 1.5 million euro for a building connected with a private company when it does not effectively support artists. She added that she is not against the operation of the museum itself.