by George Kakouris
This may seem unthinkable in Nicosia, but foreign journalists interested in learning more about the upcoming Cypriot presidential elections, both officially and unofficially, have one question: is there any chance that Cyprus' stance on the European Union's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine will change, and will we have "another Viktor Orban?"
Anyone who wants to criticize Cyprus from abroad will not bother to understand the situation...they will most likely judge on the basis of the prejudice that Cyprus is still a Russian satellite.
The ignorance with which media representatives from other European countries approach Cypriot politics is not only a result of a small country's curse; it is also a reminder of the image our country has created in Brussels.
This image depicts a country that insists on taking a stance on only one issue, even if it is off-topic, and that considers its own special interests not only superior to the special interests of larger countries, but also superior to the general interests of the EU and, at one time, superior to its own values as a country that was invaded and continues to be imposed by a larger neighboring country.
We must not forget that if we today align ourselves with the common European line (and, given our historical experience, with common morality), the "stain" will not be washed away overnight.
This "stain" should be kept in mind by our six MEPs when deciding how to vote, whether to vote and how to position themselves on various important issues, whether in or out of the Chamber. Not because the Cypriot group's vote in Strasbourg will tip the scales, but because they are in the right place and at the right time to send important messages for the country in the EU, as well as for the very nature of our country at home.
On Thursday, January 19, five of the six Cypriot MEPs did not vote for the (non-binding) resolution in which the European Parliament calls for the establishment of an international tribunal for the invasion of Ukraine. The only Cypriot vote among the 472 in favor was that of MEP Kostas Mavridis (Social Democrats, DIKO).
Inevitably, comments began to be made on social media and in the media, depending on interpretation, sympathies, and opinions, on why and how the other five did not vote. However, before we can make interpretations, we must first verify the data in a concrete way so that we know what kind of omission we are criticizing. Is it a political, moral, or organizational issue?
In practice, those who were not present had very specific issues, ranging from personal to... metaphorical (as many MEPs rushed to leave quickly to catch a flight due to the strikes that day in France, where Strasbourg is located).
Of course, this does not absolve MEPs of their responsibility to be aware of the most pressing issues and to be proactive in order to avoid giving the wrong impression. Given that Mr. Mavridis was able to stay and vote for one reason or another, could MEPs not make it clear in a joint statement that, due to force majeure, only one MEP was able to be present, but that the position of all six is clearly this (for or against, hopefully for all)?
The group of Cypriot MEPs may not be large enough to tip the scales, but it is precisely this small size that allows for personal contact and coordination in extraordinary circumstances like this.
Anyone who wants to criticize Cyprus from abroad will not bother to understand the facts of the situation; instead, they will most likely judge on the basis of the prejudice that Cyprus is still a Russian satellite. Let's not make it so simple any longer.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]