The European Commission has proposed to include in the 2012 EU draft budget additional 25 million euro of funding for the Turkish Cypriot community, a statement by Androulla Kaminara, Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus, has said.

These funds will build on the 264.5 million euro aid funded under the 2006-2010 budgets, which have been fully contracted, and the 28 million euro Aid Programme under the 2011 budget, which is currently being implemented.

The draft budget now goes to the EU budgetary authorities (the European Parliament and the Council) which must decide on it before the end of the year.

Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, in remarks said that “this proposal once again underlines the commitment of the EU to a Cyprus settlement. These funds represent a strong signal that the EU expects that the talks towards reunification of the island would be concluded successfully“.

The funds are planned to be used to support reunification in a variety of sectors ranging from education to civil society, from rural development to the environment. Funding has also been earmarked for confidence-building measures including inter alia in the field of cultural heritage, support to the Committee on Missing Persons and opening of new crossing points after agreement by the two leaders.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Peace talks are currently underway between Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, under UN auspices, to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country.

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