by Yiannis Ioannou
The next three days will be a frenzy of diplomatic activity for Nicosia, as the European Council meets in Brussels on March 23-24. President Christodoulides will meet with Heads of State and the three heads of European institutions in order to "lock in" the effort that Nicosia has declared to appoint a figure from the Council who could help restart the Cyprus talks - always within the UN framework.
At the same time and beyond the work, per se, of the European Council, Nicosia is seeking, in the same framework, to mobilize through the FAC (with the presence of the Foreign Minister, Mr. Kombou) and at the level of the EPP (European People's Party), while the goal of a meeting on Thursday between President Christodoulides and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is considered by many to be of the highest priority - and an indication of how the international organization will move.
A flurry of contacts
President Christodoulides will meet with the entire European leadership in Brussels, including European Council President Charles Michel, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristerson is also significant in light of the Council's European Presidency this semester. Contacts with the leadership of the European People's Party (EPP) group are also seen as crucial for promoting the effort for European mediation on the Cyprus problem.
However, two axes are particularly important in terms of milestones:
- A meeting with French President Macron on the margins of the Council, where, barring an unlikely event, the official invitation for President Christodoulides' bilateral visit to Paris will be secured; and
- A meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the same context as above, which could result in full support for Nicosia's initiative for European engagement on the Cyprus issue from the so-called "Franco-German axis."
The timing of diplomatic preparations for the weekend of March 23-24, for Nicosia's effort for European engagement in the Cyprus resumption process, is considered especially important at this stage, given that in most European capitals everyone is adopting a "wait and see" attitude for 14 May and the Turkish elections - given that, especially in the scenario of Erdogan's defeat, Brussels would put the Kilisdaroglu government on a strong course of revitalizing Euro-Turkistan relations.
However, until May 14, the appointment of a European individual to help mediate the Cyprus problem is not expected, an aspect that Nicosia appears to be aware of and understand - and is attempting to win Brussels' bet in full force.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]