President Nikos Christodoulides said that he expects the report on EU – Turkey relations that was requested by the European Council to be completed in November, and added that consultations on the appointment of a UN envoy for Cyprus are at an advanced stage, noting that there is the possibility of positive announcements in the coming weeks.
Speaking upon his arrival to the summit of the informal European Council in Granada, Spain, Christodoulides referred to discussions he had with the Presidents of the EU institutions as well as the French President and the German Chancellor. He recalled that Chancellor Scholz “recently, during his meeting with the UN Secretary General, raised the issue of the need for progress on the Cyprus problem and the resumption of talks, so that the EU – Turkish issues can also be discussed”.
“There were also contacts with New York, and I believe that the process is well underway for a mandate by the Security Council to appoint an envoy who will explore the prospects of resuming talks. Consultations are at a very advanced stage, and possibly in the next few days, next few weeks, we may have some positive announcements from the UN in that direction,” he said.
Meanwhile, he added, the process continues for the drafting of the report on EU – Turkey relations that was mandated by the European Council, noting that this is a distinct report from the regular report on the country’s accession process.
“This report is being prepared and will be finalised in November”, with a view to being discussed at the December European Council, he added.
“So I think that the appointment by the Secretary General will start the process which will hopefully lead to the resumption of substantive talks, which will allow us to look differently at possible developments in the EU – Turkish affairs” he added.
On today’s informal European Council, President Christodoulides said that he considers it particularly important since it focuses on the discussion on the Strategic Agenda, which will cover the priorities of the EU for the next five years.
He underlined that “the preliminary objective should be to achieve strategic autonomy for the European Union, in particular in defence and security, energy and economic matters”.
“This will be our approach, an approach which is also in line with the views and positions of other EU member states,” he noted.
The President also stressed the importance of the debate on the further integration of the European Union. “The Republic of Cyprus belongs to the group of those member states which strongly support the need for further integration. And if there is no agreement at level of the 27, we will have to see as member states that wish to achieve further integration, how to achieve it,” he said.
Support for Armenia
Responding to a question from CNA on the discussions for EU support to Armenia, Christodoulides noted that during the discussions that took place on Thursday in the framework of the European Political Community, “especially in the session I participated in yesterday, where both the Greek Prime Minister and the President of Armenia and the High Representative participated”, one of the issues discussed was “the need to have coherence, to have a reaction from the EU such as the one that it very rightly had on the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
“And this touches also on the issue we mentioned earlier about the need for the strategic autonomy of the European Union. If we want the European Union to play this geopolitical role that we all refer to, it is important to see it happen through concrete actions,” he stressed.
In relation to the role that Cyprus can play, Christodoulides pointed out that “we are a member state that knows the situation very well, there is this special relationship with Armenia, as well as that of Greece (special relationship with Armenia), and we are here to help in this regard”.
Regarding migration, President Christodoulides said that the issue was also extensively discussed during the meeting of the nine Mediterranean EU Member States (MED9) in Malta, and stressed that decisions are necessary “in particular with regard to the root causes of the phenomenon of migration.”
“If we do not address these root causes, we will not be able to talk about a comprehensive response to migration and thus mitigate the difficulties faced by frontline states,” he said.
Asked to comment on whether he expects decisions to be taken today during the informal summit, the President recalled that there have been positive developments in Brussels recently with the adoption of the common position of the 27 on the crisis regulation proposal.
He noted this would allow the Council to begin the trilogues with the European Parliament, and that President Metsola also said “that relevant negotiations will move very quickly towards the overall implementation of the Pact”.
“Regarding the external dimension in particular, addressing the root causes of the migration phenomenon is the only thing that will lead us to a comprehensive solution to the problem”, he stressed.