The EUKN Policy Lab for Cyprus took place in Nicosia on 15 December 2017. The topic of discussion was the creation of a retail policy within the context of the functional urban areas. In addition to members from the Cypriot Ministry of the Interior, it includes the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, ALA Planning Partnership, an independent consultancy based in Nicosia as well as an international expert, Martijn Kanters, from the Netherlands.
The Policy Lab is divided into two aspects: assessing the current policy framework of Cyprus’ retail sector and generating reflections on the development of a new retail policy. Two main challenges have been defined: urban sprawl and the revitalization of city centres.
Skevi Makariti set the scene by introducing Cyprus spatial planning and the current urban sprawl trend caused by large retail centres located in cities’ outskirts, which provokes increased car usage and the closure of small shops in cities centres due to high competitiveness. Anna Caramondani then gave an overview of the features and issues concerning Cyprus’ retail market. Martijn Kanters explained how to elaborate a retail policy based on the Dutch system. Spyros Triantafyllides offered an explanation on the EU Directive on Services and how Cyprus’ new retail policy should comply with it. During the discussion, two key aspects were highlighted: data and methodology; and mobility.
The Policy Lab delivered some advice on how to set a sustainable retail policy in Cyprus. As a concrete outcome of this Policy Lab, it has been advised to start generating a detailed retail database and modify the current regulatory framework. In addition, it is essential to get inspiration from other European countries good practices to come up with a tailor-made plan for Cyprus.