Cyprus Social Condition Facts

Social conditions

The standard of living is significantly higher in Greek Cypriot southern Cyprus than in the Turkish Cypriot northern part. Turkey’s support to Northern Cyprus plays an important role in the living conditions of Turkish Cypriots.

Health care is well developed in both the north and the south, but it is more effective in the south where the medical density is also higher.

Social insurance systems exist in both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parts. Among Greek Cypriots, the system includes almost all formal employees, who are entitled to, for example, sickness benefit, old-age and invalidity pension, parental leave, paid vacation and unemployment and work-related compensation. The costs are shared between employers, employees and the state.

cyprus population

Like many countries in Western Europe, Cyprus has begun to feel a growing proportion of older people in the population. This means rising social costs for the state, and in the context of the economic crisis in southern Cyprus in the 2010s, the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded cuts in state spending in exchange for emergency loans (see also Finance).

Among the Turkish Cypriots in the north, there has been widespread dissatisfaction with the many immigrants who came from Turkey in the years following the Turkish invasion in 1974. Through immigration from Turkey, the native Turkish Cypriots became a minority in northern Cyprus. A large proportion of the immigrants were poor illiterates from Eastern Turkey, whose language and culture differed from those of the Turkish Cypriots.

The previously strict abortion law was mitigated in March 2018 when abortion during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy was decriminalized. In cases where the woman becomes pregnant through rape or incest, a limit of 19 weeks applies. Previously, abortion was only allowed if two independent doctors were able to establish that the woman could suffer physical or mental harm from the pregnancy.


Infant Mortality: 2 per 1000 births (2018)

Proportion of population with access to clean water: 100.0 percent (2015)

Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 99.2 percent (2017)

Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 6.8 percent (2015)

Public expenditure on health care per person: 1 634 US dollars (2016)

Proportion of women in parliament: 18 percent (2018)



IMF payout is withheld

The IMF withholds a payment of € 86 million after the Cypriot Parliament has postponed a planned new law on the banks’ ability to recover overdue debts.


The Supreme Court rejects the new law on overdue debts

HD cancels the law passed by Parliament in September, which would mitigate the consequences of the banks’ recovery of overdue debts. According to the court, the law contravenes the country’s constitution. The HD decision is believed to pave the way for continued payments of financial support from the EU, the ECB and the IMF.

Former Governor of the Central Bank receives a prison sentence

Former Governor of the Central Bank Christodoulos Christodoulo is sentenced to five months in prison for false declaration. He has in arrears paid the right tax but is sentenced to be a cautionary example to the public.

Dispute with Turkey on the search for oil

The government in the south accuses Turkey of “provocative and illegal” behavior, after a Turkish exploration cruise entered a sea area that Cyprus believes belongs to the country’s economic zone. An Italian-South Korean company has been licensed to look for oil and gas there. Turkey does not recognize Cyprus’s right to the area.

Southern Cyprus interrupts peace talks

The Greek Cypriot side claims to have interrupted the ongoing peace talks with the Turkish Cypriots. The reason is that the Turkish government is said to be planning to launch seismic surveys in the sea south of the island in an area where the Greek Cypriot government has already issued gas drilling licenses. The Greek Cypriots regard the area as their exclusive economic zone.


Dispute regarding law on overdue debts

Parliament adopts a law that will facilitate banks to recover overdue debts, for example by seizing properties that have been pledged as collateral for loans; The law has been a condition for Cyprus to receive the next payment on the international aid package. However, a majority of the members are pushing for the law not to enter into force until the government has proposed a separate law to protect weak groups from being deprived of their housing. This addition means that the EU does not provisionally accept the new law and that the next payment is uncertain.


Disy will be the biggest in the EU elections

May 25

In the Cypriot election to the European Parliament, the Democratic Assembly (Disy) gets 38 percent of the vote, giving the party 2 of 6 seats. Akel is the second largest with 27 percent, which also gives 2 mandates. Diko wins 11 percent of the vote and takes home one mandate, while the Social Democrats receive the sixth mandate by getting 8 percent. The turnout is 44 percent.

Kvinna becomes the new head of the UN force

Norwegian Major General Kristin Lund is named head of the UN force Unficyp. She will take office in August, becoming the first female commander of a UN peacekeeping operation.

Turkey is required for damages for the 1974 invasion

The European Court of Human Rights convicts Turkey to pay € 90 million in damages for the invasion of Cyprus in 1974. The court says that thousands of Greek Cypriots had their lives adversely affected by the invasion. One third of the sum will be divided by the relatives of Greek Cypriots who disappeared during the fighting. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu says the government does not consider itself bound by the ruling and does not intend to pay. Assessors fear that the court decision may interfere with the resumed peace contacts (see February 2014).


The cash withdrawal limit is abolished

The government eliminates the rule that each person may withdraw a maximum of EUR 300 per day in cash from their bank accounts. The restriction was introduced to prevent a bank collapse in connection with the crisis negotiations on international aid loans in 2013.

The Chief of Police is dismissed

The National Police Chief gets fired with immediate effect. The reason is that the police force failed to prevent Greek Cypriot right-wing extremists from disrupting a meeting in which former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, among others, would have participated. The president says this was just one in the line of failed police action.

The governor leaves

Central Bank Governor Panikos Dimitriadis is leaving unexpectedly. He has long been reported to have had difficulties cooperating with the central bank’s board and has been criticized by the government for its way of handling the international emergency loan to Cyprus. New central bank governor becomes Christalla Giorkadzi. As head of the National Audit Office, she has become known as a sharp critic of corruption and waste with public funds.

A plan for privatization is approved

The new proposal is said to improve the conditions for employees in the companies to be sold. Cyprus is now expected to receive a support package of EUR 236 million.


No to a number of privatizations

Parliament votes on the government’s plan for the privatization of state-owned companies, including ports, telecommunications companies and electricity producers; Privatization has been seen as a prerequisite for continued international support for the restoration of the country’s economy.

Diko jumps off the government

The center-right party Diko leaves the government in protest against the peace striker against the Turkish Cypriots. Party leader Nikos Papadopoulos accuses President Anastasiadis of having already made great concessions. Ministers from Diko are responsible for defense, energy, education and health care.

The peace process is resumed formally

At a meeting between President Anastasiadis and Turkish Cypriot leader Eroğlu, they agree to “seek as soon as possible” a solution to the island’s crisis. The negotiating delegations of both sides shall formulate proposals for concrete measures. Crunch issues include the distribution of power between Greeks and Turks, land ownership and financial compensation to the thousands of people who lost their homes.