Legislation that addresses the sale of alcohol to minors and the permissible age limit to purchase alcohol will be put to a vote in the next meeting of the House Committee which will then forward it to the plenary for a final decision, according to the Cyprus News Agency.
The proposed legislation involves the increase of the age limit for the purchase of alcohol from 17 to 18 years and raises the fine for selling alcohol to minors from CYP 35 to €3,400. Imprisonment up to six months is also stipulated.
The proposals were reexamined today by the House Interior Committee at the suggestion of MPs Charalampos Theopemptou (Greens) and Michalis Giorgallas (Solidarity).
Theopemtou told the press following the meeting that Cyprus has a serious problem with alcohol consumption by young people, citing research by the Anti-Drugs Council that ranked Cyprus third in the consumption of alcohol by the youth on a night out.
Giorgallas said that his party’s intention is “to start the conversation on child alcoholism and find solutions. Data submitted a while back to the Education Committee showed that there is a serious issue with the age of the youth allowed to consume alcohol, which has been edging downward in recent years to the point where we are talking about child alcoholism in our schools.
“We are pleased to see that our suggestion is bearing fruit, as the Ministry of Interior stated in today’s meeting that it’s putting together a comprehensive bill to change the relevant law,” he concluded.
George Karoullas (Disy) stood in favour of the changes, adding that his party wants to establish the obligatory display of ID when entering evening recreational establishments serving alcohol.
Akel’s Giorgos Georgiou was also in favour but criticised the Ministry of Interior for failing to submit a comprehensive bill since 2015, and called for immediate action.
“The Interior Committee found that police have only reported 50 cases of illegal sale of alcohol to minors in recent years.
“This is in direct contrast to recommendations by the WHO and the EU, and the state, the police and the Interior Ministry need to act accordingly,” Georgiou added.
Asked whether there will be fewer places selling alcohol, Georgiou answered in the affirmative saying that this will be covered by the bill to be proposed by the Ministry of Interior.