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16 June, 2024
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EU summit reaches compromise on Euro-Turkish issues amidst Cyprus concerns

Informal truce shifts focus to broader discussions, providing time for support mobilization on the contested Borell/Commission document.

Pavlos Xanthoulis

Pavlos Xanthoulis

The European Union Summit recently brokered an informal compromise on Euro-Turkish matters, redirecting decisions on the Borell/Commission document and proposed "gifts" to Ankara to seven pillars, unrelated to the Cyprus settlement. This diplomatic compromise, following a contentious Nicosia-Berlin understanding, appears to satisfy both sides.

The Republic of Cyprus eased the pressure for immediate adoption of the Borell/Commission document, opting for a more diplomatic approach in welcoming verbalization of the mildly contested document. Meanwhile, Berlin, focused on Ukraine's accession negotiations and potential Hungarian objections, deferred tackling Euro-Turkish issues at this juncture.

However, the temporary truce and the delay in the Euro-Turkish dispute play into the hands of Borell/Commission document supporters for two primary reasons:

1. The document remains the sole proposal for regulating a new EU-Turkey relationship, providing substantial benefits to Ankara without necessitating a resolution to the Cyprus problem.
2. Berlin and Brussels, aiming for the "political adoption" of the Borell/Commission document, now have the opportunity to rally support from all Cyprus partners, with heightened pressure expected during future discussions.

A setback in Euro-Turkish relations

At the COREPER Permanent Representatives Committee, Nicosia acknowledged the potential vulnerability if the Borell/Commission document were adopted and sought to appease Ankara with unrelated gifts. While a proposal for broader discussions on EU-Turkey relations was initially agreed upon, the Summit Conclusions revealed a gap in understanding between Nicosia and Berlin, resulting in a modified proposal lacking safeguards against the Borell/Commission document.

EU takes on Hungary over Ukraine accession

In a notable decision, the Summit moved to open accession negotiations with Ukraine, despite potential objections from Hungarian leader Viktor Orban. Orban's decision to leave the room allowed the majority to proceed, showcasing a potentially problematic precedent in decision-making without the presence of a member state leader.

The Commission's decision to release a portion of frozen Hungarian funds raised questions about its ability to exert influence. While Moldova is set to open accession negotiations and Georgia secures candidate status, the revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) allocating €50 billion to Ukraine awaits approval, with Hungary currently dissenting.

Concerns Over Decision-Making Process

President Christodoulides expressed concerns about the decision-making process without Hungary's presence, setting a negative precedent for future discussions. This development may have implications for ongoing discussions on the Multiannual Financial Framework and other critical matters such as Euro-Turkish relations, where Cyprus has vital interests at stake.

[This article was translated from its Greek original and though it may not be the exact word for word, it endeavors to relay the message intended by its author]

Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  EC  |  EU  |  summit

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