On December 20, 2021, we co-organized an online seminar with title “Transparency in Parliamentary Committees: Cyprus and Europe”, in collaboration with the non-profit, non-governmental organization Oxygono and the Cyprus Integrity Forum.
The panelists were Ms. Tassoula Ieronymidou, General Director of the Parliament, Mr. Aleksejs Dimitrovs, Legal Advisor on Committees: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs for GREENS / EFA, Mr. Paco (Martino) Ruzzante, Co-founder and CEO at Arbury Road, Mr. Stefanos Loukopoulos, Director and Co-Founder of Vouliwatch), and Mr. Nikolas Siakallis, Member of the Board of the Cyprus Integrity Forum.
The seminar explored the transparency of the parliamentary procedures in some European countries and the Republic of Cyprus. During the seminar, it became clear that in other countries, like Greece, the meetings of the Parliamentary Committees are available through the official channel of the Parliament, and they are broadcast on television and online.
Since 2004 the European Parliament videotapes the parliamentary meetings and posts them on its official website. At the same time, there is also an open database with various parliamentary meetings, documents and minutes.
Although such practices are not followed in the Parliament of the Republic of Cyprus, the intervention of the General Director of the Parliament was particularly encouraging. Mrs Tassoula clarified that the meetings of the committees of the Cyprus Parliament are considered as public meetings and could be broadcast if there is technical support. At the same time, she informed us that from January 2022, the Parliament will start issuing daily press-releases that will briefly report the daily work of the parliamentary committees. She also noted that the minutes of the parliamentary committees, although not widely available, can be distributed upon a justified request to the Parliament.
We believe that parliamentary transparency is a very important part of the democratic processes of a country. For this reason, we expect a continuous modernization of all European Parliaments, including the Republic of Cyprus, so that all citizens will have direct access to the minutes of the parliamentary meetings. If this takes place then all citizens will be able to know the MPs and political parties positions and on various issues that directly affect their lifestyle, including the environment of our island.
You can watch the full seminar here