The reunited Republic of Cyprus should be able to function as a normal, functional EU member state and to actively and effectively participate in the decision-making process of the Union, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides has told the Cyprus News Agency on the occasion of the anniversary of Cyprus` accession to the EU, on May 1st 2004.
“We continue the effort to use our EU membership, fully and without restrictions, in order to further promote the interests of the country and its citizens, to highlight and strengthen the Republic’s geostrategic role, to address more effectively the various European challenges and to promote a European vision which will really meet the expectations of the EU member states’ people,” he said.
Christodoulides noted that Cyprus` EU membership has rendered the Cyprus problem a European one and has made the acquis communautaire and the EU values and principles part of a possible Cyprus settlement. In this framework, he added, “we are making every sincere effort to reunite Cyprus, on the basis of the acquis and the EU values and principles, which govern every modern and democratic state, with full respect to the rights of all citizens.”
“The active EU presence in the latest negotiating process for a settlement of the Cyprus problem aimed at ensuring that a comprehensive settlement will be in line with EU membership, since the Republic of Cyprus will continue to be a member state after the solution of the Cyprus issue. In this framework, the reunited Republic of Cyprus should be able to function as a normal, functional member state and actively and effectively participate in the EU decision-making process,” he added.
Christodoulides indicated that the active EU presence in the negotiations was pivotal in the effort to achieve very important and mutually beneficial convergences as regards the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem and to highlight the fact that the current system of guarantees and the presence of foreign troops on the island are not compatible with the country’s EU membership.
The Foreign Minister said that it was particularly important that the EU itself expressed the position that the best safeguard for the people of Cyprus, in a reunited country, is the country’s EU membership, noting the decisive dimension this membership has attributed to efforts for a settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Christodoulides underlined that Cyprus’ accession to the EU 14 years ago has been undoubtedly the most important development, with regard to the country’s foreign policy, since the Republic of Cyprus’ establishment in 1960.
He said that through a targeted and rational strategy, headed by Cyprus’ former President Glafcos Clerides in cooperation with the Greek government and the other Greek politicians, and with the support of Cyprus’ parliamentary parties and the people of Cyprus, the country succeeded what was considered impossible when it applied for EU membership in 1990.
Christodoulides said that the result of that titanic, collective effort proves in practice that focusing on goals which are crystal clear, and following a concrete and targeted strategy can lead to the achievement of national goals.
The Foreign Minister said that since its accession to the Union the Republic of Cyprus has been actively participating in the EU decision-making process, taking benefit of the Union’s policies, and underlining its added value and the role which, as the south-eastern tip of the EU, which has close relations with the neighbouring countries, it can play with a view to enhance and deepen the EU relations with countries of the broader Middle East region.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated UN-led efforts to reunite the island have not yet yielded any results.