President Christodoulides asks EU to break the deadlock
Roni Alasor / March 27, 2023 - Middle East Diplomatic - President Nicos Christodoulides seeks a permanent solution for the divided Republic of Cyprus, with the active involvement of the European Union, always in the context of the UN. His first aim is to break the deadlock peace talks, frozen since 2017.
During his presidential campaign and right after Mr Christodoulides was elected, he underlined that a permanent solution to the Cyprus problem is crucial to all Cypriots.
President Christodoulides’ aim is a unified island with an important geo-strategical position. He believes that a unified, and a modern democratic European Cyprus does not only benefit the Greek Cypriots, but also the Turkish Cypriots, as well as the European Union in general. In this sense, through the resolution of the Cyprus problem, Cyprus can be a model of peaceful coexistence for people of different religions and cultures. A permanent solution can make the island a common place of prosperity and security.
Now, in addition to the UN’s involvement in the peace talks since 1974, when the northern part of island was occupied by Turkey, President Nicos Christodoulides knocks also on the doors of the European Union, discussing with EU leaders how they can take a more active role in the Cyprus problem.
During the last EU leaders’ summit in Brussels on 23-24 of March 2023, the schedule of President Nikos Christodoulides was tight. The problems of the divided island were his main agenda. It was his first visit as president in the EU leader’s summit, but also in the summit of the European People`s Party Group (EPP Group), which has the majority of the seats in the European Parliament.
President Nikos Christodoulides was warmly welcomed by EPP President Manfred Weber, the President of EU Commission, Ms Ursula von der Leyen, President of EU Council, Charles Michel, President of the EU Parliament, Roberta Metsola, UN General Secretary António Guterresto, but also by many EU and EPP leaders, among them presidents of the EU’s most powerful countries, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Ulf Kristersson, Prime minister of Sweden who is now heading the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.
The focus of all his meetings and talks was a permanent solution for the Cyprus occupation issue. President Christodoulides promoted his proposals to all the leaders, underlining the importance of their active support and a more active role. He asked the EU leaders to create conditions for the resumption of the talks.
After his many bilateral and multiple meetings with EU leaders and heads of the national governments, President Christodoulides answered questions from Middle East Diplomatic regarding the support and the encouragement he received from EU leaders for the solution of the Cyprus problem;
“First of all, I am pro Europe, I believe in the EU project. I am in favour of more integration, but at the same time, I know that the EU is also facing some difficulties and that is why sometimes it’s not easy to reach a common decision among 27 states. But regarding my talks with the EU leaders, one of the outcomes of my meetings, I am glad that they approach the Cyprus problem as an EU problem. In this regard, the participation of the European Union, to reach a consensus in order to ensure important convergences, not only for the benefits of the Greek Cypriots or Turkish Cypriots, but for both the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. A permanent solution and a unified Cyprus is also crucial for the European continent, all the Mediterranean and the Middle East area”.
President Christodoulides believe that the European Union can act as a catalyst in order to bring the Turkish side back to the table and into the negotiations at the point where they fell apart back in 2017.
Diplomats and sources from the EU Council stated to the Middle East Diplomatic that President Christodoulides indeed informed the members of the European Council formally last week during the summit and the members have taken note of the proposals. They are going to study the details of the proposal about EU’s further involvement in the Cyprus issue, as well as proposal for the resumption of negotiations for a settlement.
During a press conference, Roberta Metsola, President of the EU Parliament, said: Europe will never be complete as long as Cyprus remains divided. And I want to emphasise on your first official visit to the European Parliament, the division of an EU member State is not only a Cypriot issue but a European one. We will not turn our backs on Cyprus and our joint ambition is to see the reunification of your island under the auspices of the UN peace plan. And I very much look forward to your proposals, to a new impetus for the resumption of negotiations between the two communities.