Cyprus will implement online non-binding referenda in a bid to heed the view of the citizens, President of the Republic Nikos Christodoulides announced on Saturday, implementing one of his pre-election positions.

Addressing the two-day Cyprus Forum Cities, taking place in Limassol, Christodoulides said that the competent Deputy Ministry is already working on the way the referenda will be implemented after the Easter holidays.

“Regularly we will go to the society to heed its view on serious issues, for which the executive will announce its decisions,” the President said, making clear that this does not mean the government will always follow the society’s view.

“But we believe it is important to taking the beliefs of the society in to account,” he said.

Furthermore, Christodoulides said that the implementation of the reform of local authorities constitutes a great wager, the implementation of which requires the collaboration of all.

“Let me assure you that we will cooperate to put in place this great and significant reform for our country and at the same time to discuss any possible problems or challenges stemming from its implementation,” he said.

Stating that the executive and the central authorities cannot respond to the every-day needs of the cities and communities to the extend the local authorities can, Christodoulides assured that “our approach, and we would like to see that in action, is to give more authorities to the local administrations.”

The President also commended the action of the Cyprus Forum Cities organises, stating that “this is an initiative by the youth of our country, who through their actions have applied what we call inclusive democracy.”

The conference, he went on to say, “inaugurates the development of an inclusive process for exchanging views, know-how and information, contributing to the creation of a sustainable development model for the cities and communities in our countries.”

Developing synergies, such as this is very important as it brings together, NGOs such as Oxygono, the government, the Local Administration, the Academia and businesses, each one of which contribute its perspective, experiences and expertise, he said, adding that through dialogue we could holistically face important challenges and to find the necessary changes and reforms which could lead the country forward.

Christodoulides also noted the government has comprehensive policies and is promoting specific actions for all sectors discussed in the conference, such circular economy, sustainable mobility, energy, the environment, blue economy, tertiary education and tourism.

“Our ultimate aim is a growing extrovert economy, that would be resilient and competitive,” he added.

Citing the impact from the war in Ukraine, the President highlighted that the economy’s productive base should be broadened.

“We should reduce our dependency on external factors to the extent possible, we are an open economy, and therefore we should become more resilient and more competitive, always complying with the principles of sustainably growth and the circular economy,” the President added.

According to Christodoulides, the government’s basic priorities is a sustainable economy, the protection of the environment and the upgrading of the citizens’ quality of life in a sustainability terms.

On circular economy, the President said the government has put in place a complete horizontal plan that is fully compliant with the aims set by the EU through the Green Deal and the Fit-For-55 package.

He noted that the government is implementing the National Action Plan on Circular Economy aiming to expedite the transition to Renewable Energy, while promoting measures on energy storage, a significant issue associated with renewables.

He said the Cabinet following consultation with the Minister of Energy will announce its decisions on the matter.

Moreover, the President said that Cyprus incorporates the challenges of climate change to the country’s new growth model, implementing new tools, such as the green budget, while Cyprus is promoted as a “test bed” for new green technologies aiming at attracting investments in this field.

The government, he went on, strengthens businesses to prepare strategies on ESG issues placing emphasis on the reduction of their carbon footprint and is implementing a complete action plan aiming at improving sustainability indices on the basis of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Growth Targets.

“Through a complete plan, with the people at its epicenter, we envision an economy that would be innovative, resilient, sustainable, diversified and less vulnerable to external factors,” he concluded

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