EWL News

EWL part of delegation of European NGOs in a networking visit to Cyprus

[Brussels, 27 April 2012] On 19 and 20 April, the EWL took part in the networking visit to Cyprus organised by the Social Platform, aiming at presenting European and Cypriot social priorities to the forthcoming Cyprus Presidency of the EU.

On Thursday 20 April, the Social Platform - of which the EWL is a member - organised a conference “How the Cyprus EU Presidency will respond to the social consequences of the EU crisis", where the Cypriot Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, Sotiroula Charalambous, presented the Cypriot social priorities for the Cyprus Presidency of the EU. Representatives and members of the Social Platform then presented the recommendations of European social NGOs with regards to the economic governance, youth and employment, the EU budget, the EU Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity, and equality in education, employment and social inclusion. NGOs from Cyprus then took the floor to present their views and demands on various issues related to the work of the Social Platform’s members (poverty, volunteerism, disability, anti-racism, equality between women and men, children and youth). Susana Pavlou, Director of the Mediterranean Institute for Gender Studies and President of the Cyprus Women’s Lobby, used this opportunity to present the EWL’s priorities to the Cypriot Presidency of the EU.

Thursday afternoon was dedicated to field visits, and Friday morning was a more strategic time for Social Platform members to meet with officials. Pierrette Pape, EWL Policy Officer, used this opportunity to meet with Ms Rita Superman, head of Unit of the Anti-trafficking Unit within the Cyprus Police, and former member of the EU expert group on trafficking, and discuss the issue of trafficking and prostitution in Cyprus. She then met with Ms Maro Varnavidou, General Secretary of the National Machinery for Women’s Rights (Minister for Justice), and discussed mainly the issue of violence against women; she welcomed the Presidency’s decision to organise a conference on the issue and expressed the EWL’s hope to see strong Council Conclusions on this crucial issue. Finally, she met with Ms Eliza Savvides, Ombudsman, and discussed the scale of sex discrimination in Cyprus; the ombudsman also produced an own-initiative report on trafficking for sexual exploitation in 2003.

The visit was very useful for the EWL and its members, and we hope that Cyprus will support strongly women’s rights during its Presidency.

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