President Nikos Christodoulides said he was pleased with the reference included in the latest draft conclusions of the European Council on the EU's readiness "to contribute at all stages" during the UN-sponsored talks, as well as with the reference to EU-Turkey relations.
Christodoulides was speaking upon his arrival to the European Council summit, held in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. Regarding his proposal to appoint an EU envoy for the Cyprus problem, Christodoulides noted that it is due to this proposal that the draft includes a reference to the EU’s involvement in the process.
Christodoulides noted that Member States "see the added value of appointing a personality" which will focus on the Cyprus problem, and "this is the reason that there is a reference in the conclusions to the readiness of the European Union to contribute at all stages, both in the current effort to break the deadlock but also after the start of the talks".
The President also said that the leaders' lunch with the NATO Secretary General is of particular importance, particularly ahead of the NATO Summit which will be held in Vilnius in July. He added that during the Vilnius summit, leaders are expected to have bilateral meetings with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, which will focus mainly on the issue of Sweden’s accession, but also will touch on the Cyprus problem.
'Both we and EU institutions as well as the member states are in contact with the United Nations so that all actions are coordinated in order to achieve the objective of resuming the talks'
The latest draft of the European Council includes a reference to the Cyprus problem in paragraph 43, which states that: “Recalling its previous conclusions, the European Council remains fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, within the UN framework, in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded and the acquis. The European Union calls for the speedy resumption of negotiations and is ready to play an active role in supporting all stages of the UN-led process, with all appropriate means at its disposal”.
An additional paragraph added to the conclusions, which follows the paragraph on Cyprus as paragraph 44, states that: “Recalling its previous conclusions on the EU’s relations with Türkiye, including those of June 2021 and the March 2021 Statement, and in light of the recent elections in Türkiye, the European Council invites the High Representative and the Commission to submit a report to the European Council on the state of play of EU-Türkiye relations, building on the instruments and options identified by the European Council, and with a view to proceeding in a strategic and forward-looking manner.”
Migration to be an important issue during summit
Upon his arrival to the European Council, President Christodoulides said that this summit is important especially when it comes to the issue of migration, and added that the working lunch with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is also of particular interest.
Migration, he said, is important "not only because of the recent tragic events, but also due to the mass arrivals of migrants to Cyprus because of the summer season."
The President referred to the positive developments that have taken place at EU level and the agreement of the Ministers of Interior and Justice on some provisions of the New Pact on Immigration and Asylum, adding that the pact is expected to be approved by the European Parliament soon, adding that “we need to do more”.
The agreement reached with Tunisia, he added, "is a good example to build on, but we need to move immediately."
Referring the leaders' working lunch with the NATO Secretary General, Christodoulides said that the upcoming NATO Summit in Lithuania is of particular importance to Cyprus, especially due to the meetings that leaders are expected to have with the Turkish President on the sidelines.
He noted that, out of the issues that will be discussed in Vilnius, “the accession of Sweden is certainly the most important issue”, but that “the effort being made to resume talks, with the European Union having a more active role" will also be discussed.
President Christodoulides also said he was satisfied since "following our own initiative, the European Council's conclusions reflect the readiness of the European Union to contribute at all stages, both in the current effort to break the deadlock, but also after the start of the talks". He also expressed his satisfaction for the inclusion of a reference to EU - Turkey affairs in the draft.
"Having these links was something we sought to achieve, and we hope to create those conditions that will lead us to the goal of resuming the talks," he added.
Christodoulides said that the first milestone in this discussion will be today’s European Council. The second milestone, he added is the NATO summit in Vilnius, and the third is the UN General Assembly in September.
"Both we, as well as the institutions of the EU as well as the member states of the EU, are in contact with the United Nations, so that all actions are coordinated in order to achieve the objective of resuming the talks," he said.
Asked to comment where his proposal for an EU envoy on the Cyprus problem fits into the wording included in the draft conclusions, Christodoulides said that "there has been a positive response from all member states" to this proposal as "they see the added value of appointing a personality" to this role.
"Moreover, this is why the conclusions include a reference that the European Union is ready to engage in all stages of the effort, both now in breaking the deadlock and in resuming the talks, precisely so that there is a coordination, because it is also related to contacts that will be made with Mr. Erdogan during the NATO Summit in Lithuania," he continued.
"We have started discussions, as I said also on specific names, and we hope that the conditions will be created so that we can have a specific announcement on this personality in the very near future" he added.
Christodoulides finally said that during the summit he will brief his counterparts on these efforts regarding the Cyprus problem, adding that on Wednesday he had telephone conversations with the German Chancellor and the Dutch Prime Minister, following up on earlier meetings.
"We know that both countries have excellent relations with Turkey” he said, adding that these laders have had discussions with President Erdogan and will met him in Lithuania. He added that he was also due to meet with Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni.
"Recently there was a meeting in France organised by the French President where the Secretary General of the United Nations was also present, as well as the President of the Council, and one of the issues discussed was precisely this cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations to break the deadlock and resume the talks," he concluded.