The cabinet on Wednesday approved new bills to reform the civil service, as it launched a fresh effort at the endeavour, which had been rejected by parliament in 2016.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said the government had never abandoned the effort despite the rejection.

The minister said new bills were drafted following consultations with all parties involved.

“A framework of bills was approved anew that improves the operation of the civil service to a large extent,” he said.

The bills provide for a new evaluation system to replace the current one under which most civil servants are deemed ‘exceptional’.

It also introduces provisions for high ranking officials who will go through an examination process when seeking promotion rather than the present procedure by which they are promoted according to years of service.

Cyprus has been repeatedly urged by the EU to adopt reforms to improve the efficiency of the public sector in particular as regards public administration, governance of state-owned entities and local government.

Opposition parties rejected the previous raft of bills in December 2016 arguing that they did not go far enough to correct the distortions and did not live up to expectations.

A couple of months before the vote, the government had said that the political environment was not conducive, as the bills which aimed at addressing recruitment, evaluation, and promotion of civil servants, their pay and the transfer of workers from departments with excess staff to others needing workers, touched certain taboos.

 

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