House President: We persist in linking Cyprus issue to Euro-Turkish affairs
10-05-2024 17:25
House President: We persist in linking Cyprus issue to Euro-Turkish affairs
Photograph: ΚΥΠΕ – Φανίτσα Ζαννέττου
House President Annita Demetriou highlighted the EU’s strength as a transformative force, emphasising the importance of linking Euro-Turkish relations with the Cyprus issue, speaking in a celebratory event marking the 20th anniversary of Cyprus’ accession to the European Union.

Demetriou praised the solidarity demonstrated by both the EU and the Republic of Cyprus towards Ukraine, expressing Cyprus’ hope for the same solidarity for the country’s long-standing political problem.

“We are well aware of the power the EU holds as a transformative force, and for this reason, we insist on linking Euro-Turkish relations with the Cyprus issue. We expect Turkey to understand that cooperation with Cyprus will unlock benefits for itself, similar to those of the entire EU. Otherwise, these benefits will remain an unattainable goal,” she stated.

Demetriou also addressed the challenges posed to the EU by the rise of the far-right, attributing it mainly to the ineffective handling of irregular migration flows and income inequality.

“However, the recipe of the far-right has been tested in Europe and has failed. Even before failing, it led European states into painful adventures. We refuse to equate the far-right with the proposal of allegedly radical and effective solutions to complex problems,” she added.

She also noted the role of national parliaments of member states, stating that together with the European Parliament, they collectively serve as guardians of the Union’s democratic character, acting as intermediaries to amplify the voice of citizens in decision-making centers.

Furthermore, she noted that the response to the democratic deficit lies in a stronger EU presence in the lives of European citizens, serving as a pillar of security, economic prosperity, and guarantor of the rule of law. She called on citizens to participate massively in the European elections because the impact of the EU is enormous, as approximately 80% of legislation constitutes European acquis.

Referring to the benefits of EU accession and collective achievements, she said, among other things, that the EU has made war between its member states unthinkable. She also mentioned that twenty years after accession to the EU, the GDP of all new member states has multiplied rapidly, despite the global economic crisis, the COVID-19 health crisis, and the outbreak of significant conflicts in the region. The euro, she added, is a strong international reserve currency that provides stability to economies and optimism to investors.

Highlighting the ongoing challenges in the Union’s neighborhood, including the Middle East and Ukraine, she stressed the importance of adapting to the evolving geopolitical landscape and avoiding regression to unilateral logic.

Cyprus’ EU membership significant amidst regional strife, says Vice President of Hellenic parliament

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Speaking at the event, first Vice President of the Hellenic Parliament, Giannis Plakiotakis, underscored the significance of Cyprus’ integration into the European Union, during a period of heightened tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Speaking at the event, Plakiotakis emphasized the vital role played by the EU in fortifying a member state amidst ongoing regional challenges.

Reflecting on the past 50 years since the 1974 invasion of Cyprus and the subsequent efforts towards EU integration, he credited Cyprus’ progress as a result of national unity and clear objectives.

Plakiotakis highlighted the EU’s role in elevating Cyprus both within Europe and in the broader Eastern Mediterranean region, stressing that the European perspective of Cyprus represents a stable and multifaceted national choice rather than a response to a third country.

He further emphasized that in the conclusions of the latest European Council, the EU’s readiness to take an active role in supporting all stages of the resolution of the Cyprus issue under the auspices of the United Nations is expressed. Plakiotakis also noted past EU measures taken against Turkey due to its illegal behavior in the Eastern Mediterranean, actively supporting Cyprus.

He reiterated that the sought-after solution can only be achieved through negotiations based on the relevant decisions of the United Nations Security Council and the uninterrupted implementation of the European acquis across the entire territory of a reunified Cyprus. However, he regretted Turkey’s negative signaling regarding the prospect of restarting talks on Cyprus.

He reiterated the unwavering cooperation between the two parliaments of Greece and Cyprus for the resolution of the Cyprus issue and stated that Greece will not tire of emphasizing internationally that the Cyprus problem primarily concerns invasion and occupation.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar of Colombia as his personal envoy for Cyprus, to assume a Good Offices role on his behalf and search for common ground on the way forward in the Cyprus issue.

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