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13 June, 2024
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President urges EU action for final settlement of Cyprus problem

EU-Turkey relations key in Cyprus settlement

Newsroom / CNA

The Cyprus problem is a European issue par excellence and the European Union has every interest, but also obligation, to actively contribute through a leading role for its final settlement, using, utilizing all the politico-economic means and tools at its disposal in the context of EU-Turkey relations, President Nikos Christodoulides said in an address at an event on Thursday evening to mark Cyprus' 20th anniversary of accession.

The President stressed that we claim nothing less than what our fellow citizens of the other member states of our Union enjoy and in this context we invest politically in Europe's substantial support for the new initiative that we succeeded in launching through our own actions, with the appointment of the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General.

He expressed the conviction that the acquis can serve as the foundation on which we will base our common future in a reunited Cyprus, but also because the European Union, through its acquis, principles and values, is the best safeguard for the implementation of a possible solution to the Cyprus problem.

The President reiterated that the European Union is our main support in the effort to achieve peace in our country and to consolidate the sense of security and cooperation in the troubled region of the wider Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.

Our accession to the EU was the culmination of a long-term strategic pursuit on a course where all governments made strenuous and persistent efforts, always with the valuable assistance, cooperation and substantial support of the Hellenic Republic.

He referred to crises that have been successfully tackled with our partners, such as the economic collapse of the past decade and more recently the coronavirus pandemic.

Any challenges are always faced in a spirit of compromise and cooperation, for the common good, the good of the Union and its citizens, he noted.

President Christodoulides said he does "not claim that the EU is a society of angels, nor that the voice and role of some member states is not clearly stronger. I have no illusions. However, I have the clear position, the strong conviction, that addressing the challenges by small states, especially under occupation, such as our country, would clearly be more difficult, perhaps impossible, outside the EU".

He said that the government is a supporter of an even stronger and more integrated Europe, saying that the EU will have even greater added value if its institutional deepening goes further, if it acquires even more common policies, if member states cede an even greater part of our national sovereignty to supranational institutions.

"Building a federal European Union is, in my view, something that requires our collective interest in today's difficult and ever-changing international context and something that will clearly make the European Union more effective," President Christodoulides said.

He went on to point out that the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, the challenges of the twin transitions, green and digital, migration, the need to strengthen our competitiveness, the investments that need to be made in the fields of research and technology, clearly highlight the need for more Europe, since they can be achieved much faster and more accurately through our further institutional cooperation.

He said that our goal is not to monopolize our interest in Brussels on the Cyprus problem and/or the Euro-Turkish issues.

In this context, he added, initiatives such as "Amalthea" for a maritime humanitarian corridor to the population of Gaza, the initiative, together with other states, for substantial support to Egypt and Lebanon by the European Union and our joint visits with the President of the Commission, highlight the added value that small Cyprus brings to the large family of the European Union. taking advantage of its geographical location, its excellent relations with all neighboring states and its highly capable human resources.

Regarding the Cyprus Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2026, the President said that our country will have a unique opportunity, among other things, to contribute in an absolutely positive way, as an honest broker, to ensuring institutional cohesion and promoting as many legislative files as possible, which will broaden the added value of the European unification process.

The president added, "our credibility as a partner is important and we are constantly working to strengthen it even further. I sincerely believe that such a development will also strengthen our efforts to achieve our number one priority, the solution of the Cyprus problem, where this year unfortunately we have the tragic anniversary of 50 years, half a century, since the Turkish invasion of 1974" and he described the occupation of Cyprus, a European territory, as "an open wound in the body of the entire European Union".

He concluded by saying that as Cypriot citizens we feel proud to belong to the most successful peace project in the world, which has today managed to develop into one of the strongest economies on the planet, with a profoundly strong value system and an undeniable geostrategic footprint.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Cyprus  |  EU

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