The Greek Cypriot government has not notified the European Commission of the amendments made last November, to the rules for the implementation of the Green Line Regulation, which regulates trade between north and south Cyprus, Greek Cypriot daily ‘Haravgi’ reports.
On 27 November 2019 the South Cyprus Cabinet approved an amendment which will ban third-country nationals from crossing into South Cyprus from the north in a bid to curb the uncontrolled influx of migrants.
Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said that together with the Foreign Ministry, they proposed amending the Green Line code of implementation to prohibit the movement of third-country nationals arriving from an “illegal entry point”, such as Ercan airport to areas controlled by South Cyprus.
Changes also include the prohibition of third-country nationals, such as domestic workers with South Cyprus temporary residence permits living in South Cyprus from crossing into the north.
The amendment means stricter roadblocks and fines for those who break the new amendments.
The ban will not affect asylum seekers. Tourists will also be allowed through, as long as they will not be staying in Greek Cypriot properties.
The then Minister of Interior, Constantinos Petridis, asked if the EU code had to be taken into account before it was adopted, claimed that it was not a matter of consultation, it was a matter of information and that “the Rules of Procedure are not changed, it is the Code of Implementation that is changing. . Issues of national competence should not be a point of consultation”, he said.
Greek Cypriot daily ‘Haravgi’ called on a representative of the Commission to comment on the developments. Instead of commenting, the official referred to Rule 10 of the Rules of Procedure: “Any change in the policy of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus with regard to the transit of persons or goods shall only take effect if the proposed changes shall be notified to the Commission and the Commission has not objected to them within one month.”
According to information, so far, the European Commission has not been informed about the intentions of the South Cyprus government, nor about the measures announced by the Greek Cypriot Cabinet.
These prima facie measures appear to substantially modify the Green Line Regulation itself and not merely the way it is implemented. However, this should also be decided by the EU itself, as required by Rule 10 of the Rules of Procedure. Everything shows that legal scrutiny will help the Republic of Cyprus to clarify whether the proposed changes conflict with the Regulation.
The question is very sensitive, because there was no legal scrutiny prior to the public announcement of the measures about which the European Commission is still in the dark.
The Greek Cypriot government is now in the process of judicial review of the measures to be taken.
In order to implement the amendment, measures such as strengthening the infrastructure and staffing the border crossing points appear to be moving forward. There are plans by the Greek Cypriot Department of Public Works to restructure the roadblocks so that they can be properly and practically scrutinised in compliance with all the provisions of the Rules and the Transit Code.
However, these issues will be resolved on the basis of finding the required funding. As for the European Commission, these measures are considered to be purely a matter for the Republic of Cyprus, as they concern the methods of implementing the Rules of Procedure itself.
Yeni Duzen, Haravgi