The appointment ceremony of Cyprus’ new minister of labor and social insurance, Kyriacos Koushos, the new deputy minister to the president, Petros Demetriou, and the new director of the President’s Office, Pantelis Pantelides, took place on Monday at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia.
President Nicos Anastasiades described Monday’s appointment decision as “the most unpleasant of those I have made during my more than nine years as president because, inadvertently, I am obliged by the Constitution to replace a person who has honored me with her friendship, a universally acclaimed colleague who has graced the cabinet and made my vision of a welfare state a reality,” he said referring to the late Zeta Emilianidou.
While assuring the new labor minister of his support, President Anastasiades underlined the difficulties he, as new minister, would face in his new position, most importantly because he had replaced an esteemed colleague who was very much identified with her successful actions and programs at the ministry.
The president went on to say that since assuming power, the highest priority of the government has been to restructure the state services and policies to achieve a welfare state that would respond to the needs of citizens.
“Thanks to the determination and methodical approach of the late Zeta, through a targeted and coherent policy, it was possible not only to rationalize the entire welfare system but to strengthen the protection grid for our vulnerable citizens through radical reforms,” he stressed.
He further noted that some plans remain unfulfilled as a result of the untimely loss of Emilianidou, such as the establishment of the national minimum wage, the reform of the pension system, the legislative regulation of parental leave for those with children up to 8 years old, the regulation of teleworking and the implementation of the national plan “Cyprus Tomorrow,” through which political and investment actions amounting to more than 315 million euros are envisaged, plans that, as he said, “will further strengthen the social protection grid that every modern state must provide to its citizens.”
The appointments were followed by the handover ceremony of the Deputy Ministry by the new minister Koushos to the former director of the Office of the President, Petros Demetriou.