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16 June, 2024
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EU Commission President affirms support for Cyprus

Ursula von der Leyen highlights Cyprus' role and EU solidarity, reflects on 20 years of enlargement


In a recent interview commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 2004 enlargement of the EU, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke to Kathimerini reporter Geroger Kakouris and expressed unwavering support for Cyprus in its ongoing issues, emphasizing the EU's solidarity with the country. Von der Leyen highlighted Cyprus' pivotal role in EU-Turkey relations, citing its influence in recent European Council conclusions and affirming the EU's backing for Cyprus in negotiations with Turkey.

Additionally, she praised Cyprus for its significant contributions to the EU, particularly its deep understanding of the Middle East and its humanitarian efforts, such as establishing a sea corridor for delivering aid to the Gaza Strip. Von der Leyen announced her upcoming visit to Lebanon with President Christodoulides, underscoring Cyprus' importance in the region.

Addressing concerns about EU involvement in the Cyprus problem, von der Leyen emphasized the progress made and the EU's commitment to supporting Cyprus in negotiations with Turkey. She stressed the importance of unity within the EU to strengthen Cyprus' position and underscored the EU's extensive relations with Turkey, which provide opportunities for cooperation.

Reflecting on the 2004 enlargement, von der Leyen celebrated its success in promoting interconnectedness and solidarity among member states. She highlighted the economic benefits and increased opportunities for citizens, particularly through programs like Erasmus. Furthermore, she acknowledged the enlargement's geopolitical significance, citing lessons learned from Eastern European countries' experiences with the Soviet Union.

In response to questions about Hungary's EU membership, von der Leyen emphasized adherence to EU principles, including the rule of law and democratic values. She praised Hungary for its contributions to mRNA technology, underscoring the importance of focusing on positive achievements.

Von der Leyen also addressed concerns about democratic values in Eastern European countries, stressing the need for continuous vigilance and strengthening of democracy. She affirmed the EU's commitment to upholding democratic principles and highlighted mechanisms in place to safeguard them.

Regarding divisions within the EU, von der Leyen noted a shift towards more interest-based alliances rather than geographical divisions. She highlighted the importance of finding common ground in negotiations and emphasized the EU's evolving dynamics.

Finally, von der Leyen commented on Slovenia's relationship with the EU, acknowledging challenges but emphasizing the country's contributions and importance as a gateway to the Western Balkans. She underscored the significance of dialogue in addressing difficulties and reaffirmed the EU's commitment to solidarity and cooperation.

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