'We All Get Them' - Stefanou on Travel Expenses
Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said that all ministers and civil servants get allowances for travel expenses, and that there is nothing secret or illegal about it - in answer to criticism of President Demetris Christofias, who reportedly requested an allowance for his trips abroad.
"We all get them (travel expenses), it's provided for in the regulations," he said.
According to the spokesman, in 1998 an accountant for the president sent a letter to the Treasury Department to ask whether he is entitled to a travel allowance. The ministry answered yes, he is entitled to benefits, said the spokesman.
These regulations have existed for decades, and any question about removing them would have to be debated seriously, said Stefanou.
The spokesman also continued defending the government's policy on the economy.
"Who abolished the privilege of unemployment benefits to retired civil servants for six months? This government. Which government brought the bill to the House to abolish multiple pensions? This government. Which government opened up the debate on public pensions and the public sector? This government," he said.
Accusations and counter-accusations have been flying as the May 22nd parliamentary elections get closer, and the rhetoric is expected to become even more hyperbolic after the President's press conference on the Cyprus problem scheduled for April 15th.