A strong EU means a strong Cyprus, the President of the Republic, Nikos Christodoulides, has said in a speech at a celebration event to mark the Europe Day, organised by the Office of the European Parliament in Cyprus and the Representation of the European Commission. The event, which was also attended by the House President, Annita Demetriou, and EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, took place on Tuesday afternoon at the EU House, in Nicosia.

President Christodoulides pointed out that ‘’the added value the EU brings with it is the most important collective achievement of the human race in the European continent since the age of Enlightenment’’.

He also expressed his belief that the EU would have even more added value if its institutional deepening went further, if it developed even more common policies, and if the member states concede an even greater part of their national sovereignty to their common supranational institutions. “I am in favour of a gradual, step-by-step course aimed at building an EU with purely federal characteristics,’’ the President pointed out, adding that “in today’s challenging and ever-changing globalised geopolitical situation, building a federal EU is something that our collective interests demand”.

President Christodoulides noted that strength through unity must be our guide and will constitute the legacy that must define our decisions. “We will never tolerate changes of borders that arise through violence and war. The illegal invasion by Russia cannot be tolerated’’, he pointed out. He also expressed his belief “in a multilateral global system governed by the rules of international law and a balance of powers, which will guarantee world peace and security’’, adding that “there is no other choice’’.

Furthermore, the President of the Republic spoke of behaviours and attitudes by the political leaders of Europe “that over time have contributed to the hatching of an undesirable Euroscepticism and foster the cause of the Europhobic, nationalistic and populist forces in Europe, which fight tooth and nail against the EU and are fervent proponents of its dissolution’’.

He also stated that his government will never adopt approaches of this kind, adding that he has long experience and deep knowledge of the way in which the institutional decision-making process operates in the EU.

Christodoulides said that it would be much more difficult for small countries with a political problem, such as the Cyprus issue, to tackle them outside of the EU. ‘’It is precisely in this framework that I have repeatedly and publicly stated that the accession of the Cyprus Republic to the EU in 2004 was the greatest success of our country at the international level since its establishment in 1960,’’ he stressed.

The President of the Republic spoke of the exercise of the Presidency by rotation of the Council of the EU by Cyprus in the first half of 2026, which will be ‘’a very important milestone’’, as he said. ‘’I am fully aware that our country will have a unique opportunity to contribute in a positive way through the Presidency and as an honourable intermediary in order to secure institutional consistency and to promote as many legislative bills as possible that will increase the benefit of the European unifying process,’’ he went on to say.

‘’I also have in mind certain political initiatives that we can undertake in the framework of our Presidency in connection with political cooperation in the Mediterranean and the broader Middle Eastern region and which, in due course we will discuss with the High Representative of the Union and the European External Action Service,’’ President Christodoulides said.

He also pointed out that ‘’if, the first, successful by all counts, Cyprus Presidency of the Council in 2012 marked the coming of age of the Cyprus Republic as an EU member state, the second Cyprus Presidency of the Council in 2026 must mark Cyprus as a totally reliable partner who, through its initiatives and concerted action, will head the Council and lead the unification process one step further’’.

‘’It is in this framework that we must, as soon as possible, lay the foundations, first in Nicosia, in connection with the planning that will be required and the institutional structure that must be created, in order to ensure that we will be in a position to undertake action in good time and successfully bring about the results we will be aiming for in the context of our Presidency’’, said the President. He added that the Cyprus Presidency is part of the Triad of Presidencies, which begins with Poland in the first half of 2025, continues with Denmark in the second half of the year and concludes with Cyprus in the first half of 2026.

Furthermore, President Christodoulides announced that very soon he will be appointing a Deputy Minister to the President with competence in European Affairs, based on the model adopted in the first Cyprus Presidency of the Council. He explained that the Deputy Minister will undertake the responsibility for the horizontal preparation of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council, will represent Cyprus at the General Affairs Council and will contribute in the appropriate preparation of the President of the Republic for the sessions of the European Council.

At the same time, the President of the Republic said that Cyprus must speak with absolute consistency and with one voice in Brussels on all matters on the agenda of the Council and the EU in general, regardless of which ministry or state service has competency for examining a particular political issue or legislative file.

He also said that the participation of Cyprus in the great European family forms a powerful political and diplomatic shield against those who might have their sights set on its national sovereignty and independence.

President Christodoulides stressed that the Cyprus issue ‘’is a par excellence European problem and it is to the interest of the EU as well as its obligation, to contribute actively in a leading role towards a final settlement of the problem, by using all the political and economic means and instruments at its disposal, in the framework of EU-Turkish relations’’. ‘’We believe firmly in a solution to the Cyprus problem through the reunification of the island and its people within the agreed framework of the United Nations,’’ he added.

The President of the Republic expressed his belief that ‘’through a more active involvement of the EU and a change in the context of the problem, by including the EU-Turkish dimension, we will be able to break the current deadlock and resume talks from the point where they were left in July 2017, with the aim of the overall settlement of the Cyprus problem’’.

He concluded by saying that for his government and for himself ‘’a strong EU means a strong Cyprus’’. He also expressed his commitment ‘’to work tirelessly both in the framework of my participation in the EU Council and more broadly, so that the EU will remain united and cohesive in this difficult time of geopolitical instability and the war’’.

On her part, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said that ‘’today we celebrate the world’s greatest peace project’’, adding that the EU ‘’is a beacon for peace and freedom and not only for our continent but worldwide’’.

She pointed out that the EU ‘’has strongly supported, from day one, and will continue to support for as long as it takes, the people of Ukraine in the face of the barbaric Russian invasion of the country’’.

‘’We also strongly support the efforts towards a viable and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem, according to the pertinent Resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations’’, Kyriakides said, quoting President of the European Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen, who said that the EU will never accept a two-state solution for Cyprus.

‘’We stand ready to support and contribute, to the maximum of our powers, to a renewed round of negotiations, with a shared target, the reunification of Cyprus and its people,’’ she stated.

‘’In the darkest moments of the pandemic, it was our foundational values and principles that we drew on, to confront a common, unprecedented threat in public health and emerge from it stronger and more resilient,’’ the Commissioner pointed out. At the same time, as she said, ‘’we are championing a European Union of free, prosperous, functioning democracies where everyone has a voice’’.

She went on to say that ‘’people in Europe are worried about how rising costs, climate change and the war in Ukraine will affect their future, their physical and mental well-being’’. Today, she added, ‘’we can speak of a European Health Union which will better protect people’s health and that will make Member States better prepared for future health emergencies, and health systems more resilient’’.

Commissioner Kyriakides said that ‘’less than 2 weeks ago, we submitted a historic legislative proposal for the biggest overhaul of the EU’s pharmaceutical legislation, in two decades’’, in order ‘’to create a single market for medicines and to ensure there are not first and second-class citizens or countries when it comes to access to medicines’’.

She also said that many of the European citizens and especially vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly, have faced immense mental health challenges, especially during the pandemic. For this reason, as she explained, the EU is presenting in early June the first comprehensive strategy on mental health.

Furthermore, the Commissioner spoke of the climate change, adding that the European Union is taking ‘’ambitious steps to deliver a green transition that is fair to all’’. She also spoke of the NextGenerationEU recovery plan that will support investments and reforms for the green and digital transitions across the EU.

‘’Europe Day is about celebrating our achievements but also about renewing our commitment to the values that have brought us this far. We, as Europeans, have a profound duty to continue to live by, and to uphold these values. They are the foundations on which we will build an ever stronger, more resilient, more united Europe’’, Kyriakides concluded.

During the event, Andreas Kettis, Head of the European Parliament Office in Cyprus, gave a copy of Jean Monnet’s memoirs to the President of the Republic and the House President. The formal part of the event was closed by the Anthem of Europe.

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