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20 May, 2024
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Washington to Larnaca via Bucharest

Maturing conditions and political maneuvers brought the sea corridor to the election arena in Bucharest, boosting both campaigns


The proposal for the Gaza sea corridor has gained momentum, with Cyprus's groundwork and the deteriorating Middle East humanitarian situation cited as catalysts, according to a report by George Kakouris in this Sunday's printed edition of Kathimerini.

During the Romexpo conference center presentation in Bucharest, Ursula von der Leyen highlighted "Amalthea" as part of her achievements in the European center-right. The developments, however, originated from Washington's initiative amid the worsening Gaza humanitarian crisis.

Von der Leyen's office played a role in promoting the initiative after US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby's public mention of the Cyprus proposal. The visit and launch followed this push.

Practical difficulties were acknowledged from the proposal's inception, with concerns about docking facilities on the Gaza Strip coast. President Christodoulides presented the proposal at the European Council in October, emphasizing the need to address security issues and establish temporary facilities.

The visit by Commission President von der Leyen was coordinated between her and President Christodoulides, prompted by US interest. While not officially a campaign visit, it became part of von der Leyen's election speech, aligning with EPP leadership and addressing the Middle East's humanitarian concerns.

The lockdown on the sea corridor's implementation came from the US, with President Biden confirming the decision to create a "temporary dock" on the Gaza coast, indicating consultation with Israel.

Ursula von der Leyen's endorsement of the proposal aligns with the EPP's narrative of providing solutions and seeks a unified voice for EU foreign policy. This move also aims to strengthen the EPP's position post-election amid perceived leadership challenges within the EU.

While not explicitly charged to the election campaign, von der Leyen's success stories are essential for building democratic legitimacy within the center-right and gaining approval from the European Council and Parliament.

[Read the full story in Kathimerini's printed Sunday edition]

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