Larnaca’s port development and the relocation of gas and oil installations are “very serious and complicated” problems, Pal Csaky, the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions (PETI) Vice-Chair has said.
Six MEPs from PETI are visiting Cyprus to review a number of petitions submitted by Larnaca citizens in relation to environmental and health concerns arising from the creation of an industrial port in their town, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reports.
MEPs will also discuss the removal of oil and gas installations, due to be transferred to another location.
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On Wednesday afternoon, the MEPs met with Larnaca Mayor Andreas Vyras and members from the municipal council. They were due to meet with citizens afterwards.
In statements after the meeting with the city council, Csaky said that PETI regards this problem as a very serious and complicated one.
“We are here to be helpful for the city, for the citizens and for the region” the Slovak MEP said, adding that PETI is “in a mission to better understand the problem”.
According to the PETI Vice-Chair, the MEPs will on Thursday have a series of meetings with various Ministries and authorities. He added that they will prepare their recommendations later this year, “maybe in November or December”.
Csaky also noted that the Committee on Petitions is generally “on the side of the citizens”, and also referred to the city’s tourism prospects. “This is a serious problem and it will be good to have a well-balanced solution for the future,” he concluded.
Cypriot MEP Demetris Papadakis from EDEK and the S&D noted that after the petition submitted by citizens, PETI decided to pay a visit and examine the situation on the ground. He added that the presence of oil and gas installations poses “a hazard for citizens in the wider Larnaca area”.
The meeting with the Mayor was constructive, Papadakis went on, and noted that MEPs were informed by the municipal council that they were not aware of the actions of the central government in relation to the management of the port and the relocation of the installations.
“This is unacceptable” the Cypriot MEP said and noted that the relocation of installations cannot be postponed to a future date without a final solution.
The Mayor of Larnaca said from his part that the municipal council is in favor of an investment that will lead to the commercial development of the marina and the surrounding area, while creating job opportunities.
Regarding the port, Vyras said it should serve the town’s tourism purposes and other commercial needs, without posing a hazard to the health and safety of citizens.
He added that Larnaca’s biggest security problem, which lingers for decades, concerns the oil and gas installations and asked for the European Parliament’s assistance for their immediate removal.
The delegation comprises six MEPs from Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia, Spain and Slovenia.