Statement by AKEL MEP Giorgos Georgiou at the press conference to present and assess the work of the AKEL Delegation to the European Parliament for the first half of the 2019-2024 term of office
Saturday 12 February 2022, House of Cooperation, Nicosia
Having completed half of our term of office as the MEP’s of AKEL, we consider that a review of our work is imperative in a spirit of self-criticism, so that we can set the bar higher, setting new goals for all that we have still not achieved.
On 24 May 2019, we invited the Cypriot people to entrust us to represent your voice in Europe. To strengthen the voice of all Cypriots. Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latinos. From a divided Nicosia to the centre of today’s suffering Europe.
With the bicommunal AKEL candidate list and, in particular, with the election of Niyazi Kızılyürek, we succeeded in dispelling the narrative put forward by the advocates of partition, on both sides of the barbed wires of division separating us, and in making history together, sending out a powerful message to both Cyprus and Europe in favour of the necessity to lift the occupation and reunite our homeland and people. This was just the first step.
With the same boldness, together with Niyazi, we are fighting daily in a Europe where labour relations are deregulated, social injustices are multiplying, the middle strata is being crushed, the welfare state is being dismantled, the refugee crisis is intensifying and fascism is rearing its head ina threatening manner.
AKEL is the only force that dares to speak out about the need to bring about fundamental changes in the EU, in order to rid ourselves of the neoliberal model and promote policies, for combatting poverty for development and growth, for creating new quality jobs, especially for young people, for real gender equality, for the protection of the environment, for social justice and peace.
Having already had 15 years of experience in the European Parliament, AKEL knew from the very beginning that this struggle is not an easy one. The democratic deficit in the EU is continuously deepening. The powerful states dominate. Decisions are influenced by the lobbies of the multinational companies. The European Parliament continues to lack any legislative initiative and many decisions in the European Parliament are the product of a behind-the-scenes bargaining between the forces of the Right, the conservatives, the liberals and the far-right.
Their democratic deficit is reflected first and foremost in the way the EU reacts to the problems that are afflicting the peoples. Nevertheless, they find us opposing them. The Left, both in Cyprus but also in Brussels, is tirelessly and unceasingly resisting the forces that are attacking people’s gains, democratic freedoms and social rights.
As MEP’s of AKEL, together with the Group of the European United Left in the European Parliament, in which our Party plays a leading role, we are asserting for the working people and society.
With our seriousness, political maturity and assertiveness, we have succeeded in making the European United Left group the most reliable ally of the Cypriot people in the struggle we are waging for a solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of Bizonal, Bicommunal Federation.
AKEL’s presence in our Political Group is decisive. That is precisely why we have been trusted to participate in very important Committees, which approve decisions on critical issues such as, inter alia, Turkey’s accession course, the EU’s foreign policy, the European strategy on Energy, the Environment and Health.
Our parliamentary work is reflected in the videos we have prepared so I will not go into any detail.
By way of example, I will mention that we have incorporated in Turkey’s progress report the need for Turkey to implement its Cyprus-related obligations.
We have struggled to strengthen labour rights within the context of teleworking as well, for the protection of collective agreements, the safeguarding of a dignified minimum wage and for support schemes to be provided for SME’s.
We highlighted the need to bring Cyprus in line with the European directive for the abolition of unfair terms and the protection of the right to housing.
We have contributed towards increasing the budget for the health sector in order to strengthen public hospitals.
We succeeded in getting AKEL’s proposal adopted to allocate EUR 4.3 million from the 2022 Community budget for pediatric cancer.
We fought for the promotion and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
We included the goal of combatting energy poverty in EU strategy and the setting of more ambitious targets for the protection of the protection.
We asserted practical support for the people of culture, honoring them in the person of Kostas Vichas, and strongly stressed the need for the immediate ratification of the Istanbul Convention for real gender equality.
These are just some examples of our assertive actions, which prove that, despite the criticism of the neoliberal policies of the EU which AKEL exerts, we do not remain indifferent but are struggling with every means at our disposal seeking to build the Europe as we envision it.
Permit me to close with the assurance that, as AKEL, we are in the frontline of struggle and shall continue to move forward with strength, even more decisively, elaborating policies and submitting comprehensive proposals that respond to the problems our people face.
For a Cyprus and a Europe that is fairer, more humane and more inclusive for all.