Four parliamentary committees are meeting this morning, in order to examine a series of legislations, which were launched by the President of the Republic, Nikos Anastasiadis. Specifically, the Law, Education, Refugees and Environment Committees of the Parliament are meeting, while at 3 pm the Plenary of the body will convene.
The Legal Committee has a total of three referrals to examine, the Refugee Committee has two, while the Education and Environment Committees have one referral each.
In particular, the Jurisprudence Committee will consider referrals of the Marriage Amendment Act, the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution Act and the Family Courts Act. It is a series of legislations concerning the modernization of Family Law. The Education Committee will examine the referral of the Elementary and Secondary Education (compulsory attendance and provision of free education) amending Law, while the Environment Committee is asked to examine the referral of the Industrial Emissions (integrated prevention and control of pollution) amending Law.
The reference to the "Marriage (Amendment) Law of 2022" concerns the transitional provision, which provides for the retroactive application of the provisions of the Law under reference, with President Anastasiades noting that the provision in question goes against the right to respect for private and family life as enshrined in Article 15 of the Constitution as well as the right to marry and found a family as enshrined in Article 22 of the Constitution.
The Family Courts (Amendment) Act 2022 was referred as it cannot come into force without the Marriage Amendment Act and the Eighteenth Amendment Act, which have also been brought into force. Specifically, there is talk of a legislative vacuum that will be created and that "citizens and/or permanent residents of the Republic who had a religious marriage before 2003 or who got married abroad, will not be able to invoke any reason for divorce".
The Refugee Committee will consider the referral of the Immovable Property (Possession, Registration and Valuation) (Amendment) Law 2022 as well as the referral of the Turkish Cypriot Property (Administration and Other Matters) (Temporary Provisions) (Amendment) Law 2022.
The Education Committee will examine the referral of the amending Law on Primary and Secondary Education (compulsory attendance and provision of free education), which was made because during the discussion of the bill amendment (4c) was added, which "seems to exclude the right of the citizen to enroll his child in a private nursery school if he so wishes and conflicts with Article 2(1) of the relevant legislation'. It is also noted that the passing of subsection 4(c) creates insurmountable difficulties in the implementation of the project to expand free compulsory pre-primary education, as agreed with the European Commission and provided for in the Recovery and Resilience Plan, "Cyprus of Tomorrow".
Regarding the referral of the amending Law on Industrial Emissions (Integrated Prevention and Control of Pollution), the President of the Republic requests the legislative authority to amend the basic Law, in order to provide for the possibility for the competent Authority to allow the operation of facilities that were operating before entry into force of the basic law to continue to operate without holding a valid and valid urban planning permit and/or building permit and/or approval certificate, provided that the remaining environmental conditions are met with the granting of an Industrial Emissions Permit (IEP) in accordance with the basic law law.
A total of 73 facilities fall under the basic law, of which 34 do not have a valid and valid urban planning permit or building permit, which include the basic production units of the EAC, the Paphos Landfill and other management units. As President Anastasiades explains, it is practically impossible to secure the necessary permits from the affected entities in time, with the result that from January 1, 2024, a large number of facilities will operate without an ABE and therefore have to shut down their operations.
According to Article 51 of the Constitution, the House of Representatives must decide on the unreferred issues within 15 days.