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18 July, 2024
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President calls for EU leadership in Middle East (video)

President Christodoulides stresses EU's strategic role, advocates for immediate action on Gaza

Newsroom / CNA

In a compelling address to the plenary of the European People's Party (EPP) conference in Bucharest, President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides emphasized the pivotal role the European Union (EU) should play in the Middle East. He highlighted the upcoming visit of the European Commission President to Cyprus and Nicosia's initiative for a humanitarian maritime corridor to Gaza.

President Christodoulides addressed the Cyprus issue, expressing hope for the EU's catalytic role in efforts toward a solution. He reiterated Cyprus' unwavering support for Ukraine against the Russian invasion, positioning the country on the right side of history as a victim of invasion and occupation.

Acknowledging the challenges faced by the EU, he praised Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's leadership, stating, "true leaders emerge in difficult times." He emphasized the necessity for the EU to have a strong voice and role in the Middle East, given its strategic global position and the significant impact of Middle Eastern events on Europe, from immigration to security.

President Christodoulides specifically addressed the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza, urging immediate attention and leadership from the EU, the US, the UN, and regional partners. He highlighted Cyprus' Amalthea initiative, planning a one-way sea corridor to deliver aid to Gaza, and expressed urgency in opening the maritime corridor for aid delivery.

Expressing gratitude to Ursula von der Leyen for supporting the Cyprus initiative, President Christodoulides called for EU solidarity in efforts to reunify Cyprus, emphasizing the EU's role as a catalytic force for its last divided member state.

Touching on geopolitical challenges, he stressed the need for the EU to be strategically autonomous, turning the concept of strategic autonomy into a tangible goal, particularly in building a European defense. President Christodoulides commended the bold and decisive leadership of the European Commission in this area, citing the new industrial defense strategy as a crucial step.

Addressing internal threats, he warned against the rise of extremist and populist forces, urging the construction of a better Union focused on economic growth, job creation, and competitiveness. In conclusion, he emphasized the importance of defending European values, asserting that as long as these values are upheld, the EPP will remain the largest political family in Europe and the driving force for Europe's future.

Cyprus  |  Europe

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