Cyprus’ new Energy Minister and Deputy Minister of Shipping, Natasa Pilides and Vasilis Demetriades respectively, face challenges ahead after being sworn in at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday.
The two new members of the Anastasiades administration will be taking over their duties on 10 July, with current Deputy Minister of Shipping Pilides taking over from outgoing Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis, while Demetriades will receive the shipping portfolio.
During the swearing-in ceremony, President Nicos Anastasiades highlighted the importance of the roles assigned to Pilides – the third female in the cabinet – and Demetriades, a shipping expert serving at the EU.
He hoped Pilides would “successfully carry out your important mission but also enrich the extremely important work and the legacy left by your predecessor, who has for more than seven years been one of my close partners, my friend George Lakkotrypis”.
Anastasiades said that he assigned her to the Energy Ministry taking into consideration the responsibilities she faced, her excellent scientific training and “highly successful career for a number of years in the various positions you have served”.
Addressing outgoing Energy Minister Lakkotrypis, the President said that he had proven to be hard-working, effective, committed, and principled throughout his seven-year tenure.
“The Energy Ministry, despite Turkish provocations and major international crises in the oil and gas industry, was successful in completing nine different contracts with joint ventures of hydrocarbon companies in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)”.
Anastasiades said Lakkotrypis implemented government strategy to align its interests with the countries involved.
Cyprus has signed intergovernmental agreements with its neighbours and now has a role to play in important regional co-operation, such as the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum.
“In addition, on Thursday, the foundation stone for facilities for importing Liquified Natural Gas will be laid.”
Anastasiades also referred to the progress in promoting clean energy.
“Total contribution of Renewable Energy Sources has doubled between 2013 and 2018, from 7% to 14%, exceeding our main national target of 13% for 2020, two years early”.
Anastasiades said that during Lakkotrypis seven-year tenure foreign trade took off with exports more than doubling to 121% and exports of services increased by 60%.
Addressing the new Deputy Minister of Shipping Vasilis Demetriades, Anastasiades said that he appointed him to head based on his experience, knowledge and capability.
“I have no doubt putting your many years of experience to use will contribute to furthering the excellent work done by Ms Pilides.”
Pilides was Cyprus’ first shipping minister when appointed in March 2018.
Anastasiades highlighted her role in attracting new ships and ship management companies, through the creation of an attractive legal environment, with the introduction and strengthening of tax and other incentives, for the registration of ships in the Cypriot register.
He also praised her role in the reinstatement of the tax framework governing shipping from the EU by 2030, which offers stability and consistency to companies based on the island.
“During her tenure, the Cyprus-Greece ferry connection was successfully approved by the European Commission with a ruling on 3 July 2020 as the sea link was considered a General Financial Interest Service and could, therefore, be funded by government funds.
So, after 20 years we are reconnecting shipping with Greece and Europe,” said the President.
Anastasiades called both Pilides and Demetriades to exhaust their efforts to implement the government policy.
“We understand the weight of responsibility we assume, and we assure you that with hard work, dedication and commitment to carrying out the tasks assigned to us,” said Pilides.
“Energy issues require in-depth study, as well as the ability to manoeuvre depending on developments, both politically and technocratically.
I want to assure you that we will be focused on our goal so that Cyprus takes its place on the energy map of the Mediterranean.”