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Foreign Minister: West or East is a pseudo-dilemma, as Cyprus belongs to the EU

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides has described as a pseudo-dilemma the question whether Cyprus belongs to the West or the East, noting that the Republic of Cyprus clearly belongs to the European Union.

Christodoulides was speaking at an event organized by the European Parliament`s Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Press and Information Office entitled “Quo Vadis Europa? The future of Europe and the role of the EU in the international scene”.

He said that the answer to the dilemma whether Cyprus belongs to the West or to the East was made clear after its acccession to the EU.

“Cyprus` future is clearly within the EU” Christodoulides underlined, adding that the greatest success for the Republic of Cyprus since its establishment in 1960 was its accession to the EU.

The Minister stressed that although Cyprus became a full EU member state in 2004, it is only in 2012 – when it assumed the presidency of the Council of the EU – that it became clear that there are opportunities and challenges for Cyprus.

He added that today, two out of the three pillars of Cyprus` foreign policy – as defined by former Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides- are related to Cyprus` membership in the EU.

The first, he said, is the reinforcement of Cyprus` relations with the neighboring countries, that would benefit the EU as well, and the second is the active presence of all Cypriot Ministers at the EU Councils. He pointed out that today, Cyprus has positions on most issues concerning the EU, such as terrorism, immigration, Syria, Iran, etc.

He noted that there is a challenge concerning Brexit and wondered whether it would work as a precedent for other member states.
Christodoulides said that this crisis is also an opportunity for those member states which want to proceed to an even greater unification.  In addition, he said that Cyprus shared common views with Britain on a number of issues, such as taxation, and that now new alliances must be pursued.

Referring to the EU – Russia ties, Christodoulides said that it is a difficult relation with problems and disagreements, but pointed out that dialogue must continue so that problems are resolved.

Replying to questions, Christodoulides said that the role and the presence of the EU during the last negotiating process for a solution of the Cyprus problem was a decisive one, noting that during that process important convergences were achieved.

He added that the EU was present at the Cyprus negotiations in Nicosia and the Cyprus conferences in Geneva and Crans Montana. The interventions of European officials, he pointed out, were decisive on several issues that were being discussed.

He also stressed that Cyprus` accession in the EU constitutes the best guarantee for all people of Cyprus.

Meanwhile, referring to the European Parliament`s elections next year, head of the EP Office in Cyprus, Andreas Kettis pointed out  the importance of the elections for the future of Europe and the need for people to vote.

On the same issue, Christodoulides said that the EU is at a crucial crossroad while Cypriot MEP Demetris Papadakis said that the question is not whether to have more or less Europe but rather to have a better Europe.

(Cyprus News Agency)

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