The European Commission had authorised the trade of honey produced by Turkish Cypriot beekeepers across the Green Line in 2007. However, trade could not start until tests carried out in approved laboratories by independent experts appointed by the Commission showed that the sampled honey complied with EU standards on residues of antibiotics and pesticides.

The results of the latest tests have shown that the standards of honey have improved. Tests will be repeated each year. The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce is responsible for issuing the necessary documents accompanying each consignment.

Over the past years, under the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community the European Commission has provided assistance to Turkish Cypriot beekeepers contributing to help them meet EU standards. This testifies of the European Commission commitment to the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community and the reunification of Cyprus.

Background

The whole of Cyprus is EU territory. However, in the northern part of the island, where the Government of Cyprus does not exercise effective control, EU legislation is suspended in line with Protocol 10 of the 2003 Accession Treaty. Since 1974, the “Green Line” separates the two parts of the island. The EU’s Green Line Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 866/2004) sets out the terms under which persons and goods can cross this line, which is not an external border of the EU. The Regulation prohibits the crossing of live animals and animal products subject to veterinary requirements, unless this prohibition if lifted by a Commission decisions laying down the conditions applicable for this trade. This prohibition was lifted for honey (alongside fresh fish) by Commission Decision of 4 May 2007 (Official Journal of the EU, L 123 of 12.5.2007, p. 30), subject to a number of conditions relating notably the compliance with EU standards on residues of pesticides and antibiotics.

The European Union has invested to date more than €320 million under the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community.

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