Taxpayers will cover the cost of nine MPs’ trip to Australia, including the President of the House Demetris Syllouris, estimated at around €120,000-€150,000, Phileleftheros reports.
The full cost of the mission is much higher, but the remaining amount will be covered by the Australian House and Senate, whose invitation is behind the sizeable representation by the Cypriot parliament. Phileleftheros was told that the number of participants in the delegation is estimated at 16-18 people.
The hosting country will not cover the cost of the entire delegation’s accommodation, potentially due to its large number, therefore hotels will be paid for by the Cyprus parliament. Accommodation and other expenses will be initially paid by Cyprus’ embassy in Australia, and once the exact amount is clarified, a wire transfer will be executed by the Cypriot House.
Meanwhile, concerns have been voiced among the public in Cyprus on whether it was necessary for nine out of 56 MPs — that is one in six — to join this mission.
It’s also mentioned that at least the House director and all MPs are booked in business class, which costs €4,500-€5,500 per seat. Other costs to be covered by taxpayers include transportation on the ground — so that the consortium can attend federal and state meetings and other activities in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney — transfers to and from airports as well as meals.
MPs are also entitled to an allowance transferred into their bank accounts a few days before their departure from Cyprus, which varies according to the scale of their pay. The allowance fluctuates depending on the living cost of the visiting country.
Data shows that trips abroad for conferences, meetings and other missions cost the government €720,912 in 2017 and €712,481 in 2018. Trip allowances were €166,966 in 2017 and €127,653 in 2018.
To host foreign missions in Cyprus by invitation of the House, taxpayers paid €245,493 in 2017 and €194,756 in 2018, while seminars and conferences organised by Cyprus cost €30,636 in 2017 and rose sharply in 2018 to €206,737.
Other considerable expenses involve lighting and heating amounting to €150,191 and €124,470 in 2017 and 2018 respectively, councillor fees at €242,736 in 2017 and €296,612 in 2018, and sponsorship of political parties at €10.3 million in 2017 and €10.4 million in 2018.