Written Question: The rule of law in Cyprus – Independence of the Court of Auditors at risk following golden passport report

(Source: European Parliament)

Date submitted: 30 March 2021

Question for written answer E-001753/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Saskia Bricmont (Verts/ALE), Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield (Verts/ALE), Sven Giegold (Verts/ALE)

Subject: The rule of law in Cyprus – Independence of the Court of Auditors at risk following golden passport report

Since publishing a report on Cyprus’ recently suspended citizenship by investment programme, Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides has been facing political pressure from the Cypriot Government which could lead to his removal from office. On 24 February 2021, the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions released a statement expressing concern at the limitations that hampered the Audit Office’s efforts to obtain timely, direct and free access to all the necessary documents and information for the proper discharge of its responsibilities.

As stated in the September 2020 Commission Rule of Law Report, institutional checks and balances are key components of the rule of law. We believe that these attacks threaten the independence of the Auditor General, who should be able to conduct investigations free from political pressure.

  1. Where does the infringement procedure on investor citizenship schemes launched against Cyprus in October 2020 stand?
  2. Has the Commission taken any steps against the Cypriot Government regarding the attacks on the Auditor General, and if not, what does it plan to do to ensure that the Audit Office has proper independence and that Cyprus respects the rule of law?
  3. What steps has Cyprus taken since September 2020 to address the concerns highlighted in the 2020 Rule of Law Report?
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