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The Legal and Policy Framework of Cyprus for the Fight Against Poverty at the Domestic and International Levels

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Part of the Ius Comparatum - Global Studies in Comparative Law book series (GSCL,volume 52)

Abstract

The legal framework of Cyprus for the domestic fight against poverty is premised on the constitutional right to a decent existence, an equivalent to the right to an adequate standard of living. This right is not directly justiciable but the courts can assess the legislation which the State is bound to enact for its realisation. The Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme was introduced in 2014 in the aftermath of the financial crisis that severely hit Cyprus, to guarantee minimum living standards for the neediest. At the international level, Cyprus has gone from aid recipient to donor, primarily due to its EU accession in 2004. Its aid programme was established by executive decision in 2005 but, despite a promising start channelling aid to sectors directly related to the MDGs, it fell victim to the financial crisis, which saw the relevant aid agency suspending its operations and Cyprus’ ODA plummeting from 0.23% of GNI in 2010 to 0.09% in 2015. Yet, the aid programme was not discontinued and Cyprus has renewed its strong political commitment for the implementation of the SDGs and participates in relevant initiatives.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Cyprus is de facto divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island and occupied almost 37% of its territory. The present chapter covers the legal and policy framework in the areas of Cyprus under the control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.

  2. 2.

    Christou et al. (2016), pp. 79–80.

  3. 3.

    For analytical figures, see Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2017), p. 15.

  4. 4.

    Ibid.

  5. 5.

    Markides (2006). See also, Malachtou v. Armefti (1987) 1 CLR 207, 217.

  6. 6.

    Law relating to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Law 127(I) of 2006).

  7. 7.

    Pikis (2006), p. 9.

  8. 8.

    See Stylianou v. The Police (1962) CLR 152; Petrides v. The Greek Communal Chamber (1963) 2 CLR 417.

  9. 9.

    Constantinides (2015), pp. 236–238.

  10. 10.

    Polyviou (2015), p. 152.

  11. 11.

    The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights (Ratification) Law (Law 39 of 1962), which ratified the ECHR and Protocol No. 1. Cyprus has ratified all additional protocols, with the exception of Protocol No. 16, which it has not signed yet.

  12. 12.

    Both ICCPR and ICESCR were ratified via the International Covenants (Economic, Social and Cultural and Civil and Political Rights) (Ratification) Law (Law 14 of 1969).

  13. 13.

    The European Social Charter Ratification Law (Law 64 of 1967), which was then replaced by the Revised European Social Charter (Ratification) Law (Law 27(III) of 2000). Cyprus has also ratified the Protocol amending the European Social Charter, with the European Social Charter (Amending Protocol) (Ratification) Law (Law 10(III) of 1993).

  14. 14.

    The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Ratification) Law (Law 12 of 1967).

  15. 15.

    The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Ratification) Law (Law 78 of 1985).

  16. 16.

    The Convention on the Rights of the Child (Ratification) Law (Law 243 of 1990).

  17. 17.

    The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Ratification) Law (Law 8(III) of 2011).

  18. 18.

    The Additional Protocol to the European Social Charter Providing for a System of Collective Complaints, with the Additional Protocol of the European Social Charter for the Submission of Collective Complaints (Ratification) Law (Law 9(III) of 1996).

  19. 19.

    Association for the Protection of All Children (APPROACH) Ltd v. Cyprus (Complaint No. 97/2013), Decision of 12 May 2014.

  20. 20.

    University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Cyprus (Complaint No. 127/2016), Decision on admissibility of 4 July 2017.

  21. 21.

    Dinos Kontos ν. Republic (Permits Authority) (1974) 3 CLR 112; Apostolou and others ν. Republic (1984) 3 CLR 509; Georghios Hadjisavva ν. Republic (Council of Ministers) (1972) 3 CLR 174.

  22. 22.

    Regarding the history, nature and peculiarities of the Constitution of Cyprus, see generally Tornaritis (1980).

  23. 23.

    Report of Cyprus under Art. 40 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to the Human Rights Committee, UN Doc. CCPR/C/1/Add. 6, 6 April 1977; Christou v. Christou (1964) CLR 336, at 346. See also, Article 5 of the Treaty concerning the Establishment of the Republic of Cyprus between the United Kingdom Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, Cmnd 1252; UNTS vol. 382, 16 August 1960.

  24. 24.

    Tornaritis (1968).

  25. 25.

    Constantinides (2014), p. 946.

  26. 26.

    Loizou (2001), p. 50.

  27. 27.

    Tornaritis (1968), p. 546.

  28. 28.

    For a detailed analysis of Article 9, see Kombos (2016), pp. 62–66.

  29. 29.

    See Community of Pyrga through the President of the Community and the local authority of Pyrga and ors v Republic of Cyprus through the Council of Ministers and ors, Interim decision, Case no 671/1991, ILDC 1790 (CY 1991), (1991) CLR 3498, 7th November 1991, Supreme Court [Sup Ct], para. 17. See also the Republic v. Board of Improvement Geriou (1998) 3 CLR 210.

  30. 30.

    Apostolides a.o. v. the Republic (1982) 3 CLR 928, 932; Economides v. Director of Social Insurance (1989) 2 CLR 235.

  31. 31.

    (1961) 1 RSCC 62.

  32. 32.

    See also, Pelidi a.o. v. the Republic, Recourse Nos. 1650/1999 and 789/2000, 15 June 2001; Hadjisavvas v. Republic, Case No. 396/2005, 31 July 2006; Kaoulas v. Republic, Case No. 407/2009, 18 March 2011.

  33. 33.

    Paraskeva (2015), pp. 116–117.

  34. 34.

    Apostolides a.o. v. the Republic (1982) 3 CLR 928. See also Katsaras a.o. ν. the Republic (1973) 3 CLR 145.

  35. 35.

    Apostolides a.o. v. the Republic (1982) 3 CLR 928.

  36. 36.

    See also the Primary and Secondary Education (Compulsory Attendance and Provision of Free Education) Law (Law No. 24(I) of 1993) and The Primary and Secondary Education (Compulsory Attendance and Provision of Free Education) (Amendment) Law (Law No. 220(I) of 2004).

  37. 37.

    Article 20(2) of the Constitution provides that primary education shall be free. However, the House of Representatives has extended the right to free education to secondary education as well, as per Article 3 of the Primary and Secondary Education (Compulsory Attendance and Provision of Free Education) Law, as amended.

  38. 38.

    See Police v. Ekdotiki Eteria (1982) 2 CLR 63; Police v. Georghiades (1983) 2 CLR 33; Pingouras v. Police (1987) 2 CLR 18.

  39. 39.

    See The Ship “Panagia Myrtidiotissa v. Sidiropoulos a.o. (1998) 1 CLR 1000; Foinikaridou v. Odysseos (2001) 1 CLR 1744.

  40. 40.

    See Sigma Radio TV Ltd v. Radio and Television Authority (2004]) 4 CLR 1; Georgiou v. Police (1999) 2 CLR 616; Police v. Liveras, 3 RSCC 65; Nicosia Police v. Georghiou a.o., 4 RSCC 36; District Officer Nicosia a.o. v. Michael, 4 RSCC 126; Kontos v. Republic (1974) 3 CLR 112; Marabou Floating Restaurant Ltd v. Republic (1973) 3 CLR 397; Meridien Trading v. Minister of Commerce (1987) 3 CLR 1930; Pettemerides v. Republic (1988) 3 CLR 1880.

  41. 41.

    Social Insurance Law of 2010 (Law 59(I) of 2010), as amended. Part III (Articles 21–45) of the Social Insurance Law provides for: (a) periodical benefits, such as maternity allowance, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, disability pension, statutory/old-age pension, widow’s/widower’s pension, orphan’s benefit, missing person’s allowance and paternity allowance, and (b) for lump-sum benefits, such as marriage grant (which was abolished in 2012), maternity grant and funeral grant. Part IV (Articles 46–66) further provide for employment injury benefits, which include temporary incapacity (injury benefit), disability benefit and death benefit.

  42. 42.

    Law 89(I) of 2001.

  43. 43.

    Law 25(I) of 1995, as amended. The social pension is also available to recipients of statutory pension, whenever the latter is considered very low, in accordance with Article (3)(1)(c) and 4(1) of the Provision of Social Pension Law of 1995, as amended.

  44. 44.

    Law 95(I) of 2006.

  45. 45.

    Law 167(1) of 2002, as amended.

  46. 46.

    Law 203(I) of 2015.

  47. 47.

    Law 109 (I) of 2014, as amended.

  48. 48.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2017), pp. 15–16.

  49. 49.

    Ibid, at p. 16.

  50. 50.

    See International Monetary Fund (2013a), para. 15; Koutsampelas (2016), pp. 3–4.

  51. 51.

    Official Gazette of the Republic, No. 4146, 23 July 2014, at 1036.

  52. 52.

    Ibid.

  53. 53.

    Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2016), para. 29.

  54. 54.

    Ibid, para. 30.

  55. 55.

    Ibid, para. 47.

  56. 56.

    Such departments under the control and supervision of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance include: the Social Insurance Services (implementing the governmental policy, schemes and measures in the field of social insurance, identifying social and economic needs that can be confronted with social security, making payments for the majority of benefits and pensions), the Social Welfare Services (safeguarding social cohesion and social solidarity, providing social protection, achieving social inclusion and combating poverty and social exclusion), the Department for Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities, creating new prospects for their social inclusion through the design, coordination and implementation of reforming policies and providing social benefits to persons with disabilities), the Welfare Benefits Administration Service (implementing the guaranteed minimum income and administering various social schemes).

  57. 57.

    On 30 April 2013, the House of Representatives endorsed the Programme, which was detailed in the MoU on Specific Economic Policy Conditionality, with the Financial Assistance Facility Agreement (Ratifying) Law (Law 1(III) of 2013).

  58. 58.

    The Loan Agreement for the financial assistance package towards Cyprus amounted to €10 billion, with the ESM providing up to €9 billion and the IMF contributing around €1 billion.

  59. 59.

    An uninsured deposit is the deposit which is larger than €100,000.

  60. 60.

    International Monetary Fund (2013b).

  61. 61.

    Trimikliniotis (2012).

  62. 62.

    By comparison, in 2015 the EU risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate was 23.7%.

  63. 63.

    Statistical Service, Ministry of Finance (2017).

  64. 64.

    Ibid, at p. 15.

  65. 65.

    Ibid.

  66. 66.

    See for instance, the Social Insurance (Amending) Law (Law 193(Ι) of 2012); the Social Insurance (Amending) Law (Law 106(I) of 2014); the State Medical Institutions and Services General (Amending) Regulations 2013 (Regulation 143 of 2013); the Special Contribution for Officials, Employees and Pensioners of the Public Sector and Wider Public Sector (Amending) Law (Law 184(I) of 2012).

  67. 67.

    There is however case law relating to the financial crisis and its impact on the right to property (Article 23 of the Constitution); see, Georgios Charalambous a.o. v. Ministry of Finance a.o, Joined cases Nos. 1480/2011, 1481/2011, 1482/2011, 1483/2011, 1484/2011, 1591/2011, 1625/2011, 11 June 2014; Maria Koutselini-Ioannidou a.o. v. the Republic a.o, Joined cases nos. 740/11, 891/11, 892/11, 893/11, 927/11, 928/11, 930/11, 931/11, 960/11, 963/11, 964/11, 966/11, 996/11, 997/11, 998/11, 999/11, 1028/11, 1029/11, 1031/11, 1032/11, 1033/11, 1034/11, 1035/11, 1036/11, 1040/11, 1048/11, 1051/11, 1087/11, 1150/11, 1163/11, 1186/11, 1187/11, 1191/11, 1205/11, 1206/11, 1276/11, 1287/11, 1310/11, 1364/11, 1540/11, 1612/11, 1681/11, 1710/11, 114/12, 556/12, 563/12, 564/12, 587/12, 7 October 2014; Myrto Christodoulou a.o. v. Central Bank of Cyprus a.o (2013) 3 CLR 427; Vias Demetriou a.o. v. Central Bank of Cyprus a.o., joined cases Nos. 1034/2013, 1102/13, 2799/13, 3932/13, 4717/13, 4965/13, 5064/13, 5173/13, 5318/13, 5479/13, 5496/13, 5523/13, 5554/13, 5566/13, 5584/13, 5588/13, 5900/13, 5903/13, 5951/13, 5960/13, 5961/13, 5966/13, 5968/13, 6117/13, 6125/13, 6134/13, 6141/13, 6179/13, 6183/13, 6184/13, 6195/13, 6246/13, 6266/13 και 6272/13, 9 October 2014.

  68. 68.

    Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2016), para. 11.

  69. 69.

    Ibid, para. 35.

  70. 70.

    See for instance, Article 83 of the Social Insurance Law, Article 15 of the State Student Welfare Law, Article 11 of the Child’s Benefits Law.

  71. 71.

    See Pancyprian Organization of Large Families a.o. v. Attorney-General, App. No. 6914/2012, 22 March 2017; Eirini Patsalosavvi-Leontiou v. The Republic (1997) 3 CLR 70 and Electricity Authority of Cyprus v. Filiastidi (2003) 3 CLR 342, where the Plenary of the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the proper procedure for challenging decisions related to social benefits is through filing a recourse to the Supreme Court acting as Administrative Court.

  72. 72.

    Law relating to the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, (Law 130(I) of 2015).

  73. 73.

    Article 146(4)(a), (b) and (c) of the Constitution of Cyprus.

  74. 74.

    See for instance, Georgiou v. the Republic, Case No. 990/2015, 17/1/2018; Daphne Kakoulli v. Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance (Department of Social Services), App. No. 426/2015, 31 December 2015; Andri Andreou v. Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance (Social Welfare Services), App. No. 5894/2013, 11 September 2014; Andreas Christou a.o. v. The Republic, App. No. 346/2011, 4 October 2012: Suzana Demourtsidou v. The Republic, App. No. 5808/2013, 10 February 2016; Giorgos Charalambous v. The Republic, App. No. 6462/2013, 20 December 2015.

  75. 75.

    Commissioner for Administration Law (Law 3 of 1991).

  76. 76.

    Ibid, Article 3(1).

  77. 77.

    Ibid, Article 5.

  78. 78.

    Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2016), para. 8.

  79. 79.

    See Legal ISC Files (1963) and World Bank (1969).

  80. 80.

    World Bank (1979).

  81. 81.

    CyprusAid (2005), p. 2.

  82. 82.

    Webster (2013).

  83. 83.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2007).

  84. 84.

    See Decision by the Council of Ministers, No. 75.141, dated 24/5/2013.

  85. 85.

    See for instance, several statements made by the former President of the Republic [Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2008); Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009)].

  86. 86.

    CyprusAid (2005), p. 4.

  87. 87.

    Antoniou (2013), pp. 30–34; Agrotis (2013), pp. 3–4.

  88. 88.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2017), p. 9.

  89. 89.

    Eurostat (2018).

  90. 90.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2017), p. 9.

  91. 91.

    Themistokleous et al. (2017).

  92. 92.

    Permanent Mission of the Republic of Cyprus to the United Nations (2015).

  93. 93.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2017), p. 12.

  94. 94.

    Ibid, Annex 2, ‘Civil Society’s action towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Cyprus’, pp. 72–73.

  95. 95.

    Ibid, at p. 73.

  96. 96.

    Ibid, at p. 13.

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Constantinides, A. (2021). The Legal and Policy Framework of Cyprus for the Fight Against Poverty at the Domestic and International Levels. In: Andenas, M., Perelman, J., Scharling, C. (eds) The Fight Against Poverty and the Right to Development. Ius Comparatum - Global Studies in Comparative Law, vol 52. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57324-9_3

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