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13 June, 2024
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Ursula von der Leyen commends Cyprus for 20 years of transformation

Youth empowerment: Cyprus invites active participation in EU decision-making


The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, emphasized the pivotal role of the European Union (EU) in fostering peace in Cyprus during an event commemorating the 20th anniversary of Cyprus' accession to the EU. Held at the Presidential Palace and graced by the presence of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the occasion underscored Cyprus' emergence as a bastion of solidarity, not just within Europe but on a global scale.

Christodoulides hailed the EU as a key ally in Cyprus' pursuit of peace and reunification, asserting, "We are investing in ending the occupation and reuniting our country, with the EU as our main supporter in this endeavor." Addressing the students in attendance, he lauded their significance as representatives of the new generation, encompassing both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Acknowledging the EU's transformative impact, Christodoulides highlighted Cyprus' accession as a landmark event in the nation's modern history, marking a culmination of sustained diplomatic efforts. He underscored the profound socio-economic benefits resulting from EU membership, emphasizing the shared values of democracy, rule of law, and pluralism.

In particular, he lauded the opportunities afforded by EU membership, notably the freedom of movement for citizens within the Union. Christodoulides underscored the significance of initiatives like the "school-Ambassador" Program, facilitating educational exchanges and fostering cross-border cooperation among European youth.

Looking ahead, Christodoulides urged intensified efforts to build a more prosperous, inclusive Europe, centered on sustainable development and innovation. He invited young people to participate actively in democratic processes, particularly in the upcoming European Parliament elections, as a testament to Cyprus' two decades of EU membership.

Echoing Christodoulides' sentiments, President von der Leyen commended Cyprus' progress since joining the EU, citing advancements in healthcare, education, and economic growth facilitated by EU support. She emphasized the values of solidarity and unity that underpin European integration, affirming Cyprus' role as a bridge between continents and a beacon of humanitarian action.

Von der Leyen underscored the importance of shared values and common heritage in shaping a cohesive European identity. She expressed hope for Cyprus' reunification, urging young people to seize the opportunity to shape the continent's future.

During the event, students from 17 schools in Cyprus presented actions under the "school-Ambassador of the European Parliament" program.

After the presentations of the students followed a discussion with the president of the Republic and the president of the European Commission.

Also, students from the Nicosia Music School performed songs under the artistic direction of Marisa Anastasiadis.

The event was attended by the Cypriot Commissioner for Health and food safety of the European Commission, Stella Kyriakides, while Ministers, Deputy Ministers, party leaders or representatives, MPs, ambassadors of EU member states and other officials were present.

[With information sourced from CNA]


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