November 25, 2017

EU-Cyprus Joint Committee-Press Statement

The EU-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee held its 20th meeting on 9-10 October 2001 in Brussels, chaired by Mrs. Mechtild Rothe (Party of the European Socialists – Germany) and Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos (Democratic Party – Cyprus).  They underlined that Cyprus had made extraordinary progress in the accession negotiations and were of the opinion that the solution of the Cyprus problem before Cyprus’ adhesion to the EU would be beneficial for all parties without being a precondition for the EU membership.

Mrs.Renilde Lοeckx, Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representing the Belgian Presidency-in-Office of the Council of the European Union, Commissioner, Gunter Verheugen and Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs, representing the Govenrment of the Republic of Cyprus addressed the JPC on the political situation in Cyprus and on the current EU-Cyprus relations.

It was stressed that the Belgian Presidency gave highest priority to the enlargement process and that the accession negotiations with Cyprus are in a very decisive period.

Commissioner Verheugen stated that the solution of the Cyprus problem to be found before Cyprus’ accession to the EU remains a clear preference for the Commission, although this is not, and cannot be, a precondition.  He also underlined his disappointment with Mr. Denktash’s decision, fully backed by Ankara, not to accept the invitation of Kofi Annan for the resumption of the UN process for the solution of the Cyprus problem.  It is more important than ever that all political leaders in Cyprus should make clear that a settlement, preferably to be reached before accession, remains their objective.  The way for the Turkish Cypriot community into EU passes through a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem.  An EU membership would be beneficial, both in political and economic terms, for the Turkish Cypriot community.  Foreign Minister Kasoulides stated that the Republic of Cyprus was ready to begin negotiations on the Cyprus problem before accession to the EU, as a solution would be beneficial for the enlargement process.  Cyprus as a whole would benefit of the unification of the island and of EU membership.  On the accession negotiations, it was made clear that Cyprus remains the front runner of the candidate countries with 23 chapters already closed.  The negotiations would continue at the same speed hopeful leading to the closure of negotiations in 2002.

The forthcoming Progress Report from the Commission was expected to be positive as far as Cyprus’ preparation for membership even if the remaining chapters under negotiation were some of the most difficult ones.

The Chief Negotiators for enlargement with Cyprus, Mr.George Vassiliou (Cyprus) and Mr. Leopold Maurer (EU) briefed the JPC on the current situation and future perspectives of the EU-Cyprus accession negotiations.  They both stressed the excellent progress made by Cyprus in adopting and implementing the acquis communautaire.  It was expected to close 3 more chapters before the end of 2001.

Mr.Jacques Poos, Rapporteur of the European Parliament underlined that the accession negotiations with Cyprus were running well and stressed that a future membership of Cyprus would benefit the Union and reinforce its role in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East; it will also benefit Cyprus, politically and economically.  The whole island would benefit from accession.  He also expressed his strong hope that Cyprus’ accession to the EU would be a catalyst for the peace efforts.

The JPC welcomed the EP report on Cyprus’ accession.  The resolution adopted with an overwhelming majority by the EP was regarded as very objective and balanced.

Mr. Dimitris Syllouris briefed the JPC on the cultural heritage of Cyprus and the JPC proposed to the Commission the establishment of a cultural map of Cyprus for the registration, the protection and the promotion of the European cultural heritage of Cyprus.  The Commission stated that projects could be funded by the EU.

Mr. Dimitris Tsatsos (EP) and Mrs.Eleni Mavrou (Cyprus) briefed the JPC on the Future of Europe. They both stressed the importance of the role of the National Parliaments in this process and agreed that the candidate countries should equally participate in the Convention on the future of Europe.

The JPC was also briefed by Mr. Jannis Sakellariou (EP) and Mr.Demetris Syllouris on the role of the EU and Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean. They stressed the important contribution Cyprus can make to the euro-mediterranean process.  The JPC decided to take an initiative by organising a special meeting with their euro-mediterranean partners at the next JPC meeting in Cyprus.