In her reply to a call for the European Commission to send a fact-finding mission to Cyprus to investigate the Title Deed problems, Commission Vice-President Mrs Viviane Reding has rejected MEP Daniel Hannan’s request saying that “the Commission has no powers to intervene in this matter”:
The Commission is aware of the difficulties faced by buyers of immovable property in Cyprus in relation to developer mortgages and withheld title deeds. Under the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Commission can only intervene if an issue of European Union law is involved.
As explained in the answer to Written Questions E?6513/08, E?6793/08 and E?0110/09 given by Commissioner McCreevy, the Commission contacted the Cypriot authorities in 2009 asking for detailed information on the situation. Based on the analysis of the reply received, the Commission concluded that the matter falls outside Union law as it concerns the establishment and application of the legal framework governing the acquisition and transfer of immovable properties in Cyprus covered by Article 345 TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).
Since the provisions of the TFEU shall in no way prejudice the rules governing the system of property ownership in a Member State, the Commission has no powers to intervene in this matter. For this reason, the Commission is not in a position to organise a fact-finding mission. The Commission believes that the questions raised by the Honourable Member should be addressed to the competent national authorities in Cyprus.
The draft legislation which is said to address and regulate the issue of title deeds is still under negotiation in the Cypriot Parliament.
The Commission trusts that the Cypriot authorities will adopt legislation on this specific matter in conformity with their international obligations, and in particular, the European Convention of Human Rights.