Cyprus Mail

‘The most important achievement since independence’

By Athena Arsalidou

The accession of Cyprus to the EU ten years ago on Thursday, was the island’s most important achievement since independence, President Nicos Anastasiades said in comments published on Wednesday.

In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency to mark the anniversary, Anastasiades said Nicosia could now use the tools offered by the EU to seek a Cyprus solution. Before joining the EU there was no such possibility, he said.

But at the same time when it came to the March 2013 bailout situation, Anastasiades said Cyprus had been used as an experiment for the EU’s new policy for the rescue of banks in the form of a ‘bail in’. Despite the harsh decisions, the island had however found its economic solution within the EU, he said.

“Our EU accession was the greatest achievement since the proclamation of the independence of Cyprus,” said the President. “Our membership in a family of developed and democratic states, gave us the opportunity both as a society and as a state to enter into a process of reforms and modernisation based on the EU acquis communautaire.”

Cyprus could now better address the current political, social and economic challenges within the EU “which offers a wider context of ideas, opportunities and alliances”.

“The accession of the entire territory of Cyprus to the EU – with the suspension of the acquis communautaire in the areas where the Cypriot government does not exercise effective control – was the best response to Turkey, which considered the Cyprus problem already solved through the illegal and unnatural division of the island in August 1974,” Anastasiades said.

“The Cyprus issue is not yet solved, but the accession of Cyprus to the EU, in a parallel track with the accession course of Turkey, have redefined the parameters of the Cyprus problem.”

A solution of the Cyprus problem was a necessary component to restore geopolitical stability in the region, he added.

He also referred to the fact that Cyprus had asked for a more active and substantive EU involvement in Cyprus, adding that this had been achieved to a great extent.

“We can use the tools offered by the EU to seek a solution, as fair as possible. Prior to our accession to the EU we had no such opportunity,” he said.

Referring back to the way Cyprus was treated during the bailout, Anastasiades said that although he believed the island’s banking crisis was used as an experiment in ways to deal with bailouts, by means of bail-ins’ he said:  “We should realise that the concept of solidarity coexists alongside with responsibility.”

“Our economy reached a limit, not because of the EU but because of our own mistakes and omissions,” he said. The solution found was a difficult one, but it was found within the EU, he added. There was no other choice because otherwise, Cyprus would not have been able to find the funds it needed if it were not a member of the EU and the eurozone.

“The decisions were tough and the consequences even tougher. But I cannot imagine where Cyprus would have been today, had it not been for those decisions,” Anastasiades said.

“Cyprus` future is linked with the future of the EU itself. Our full participation in the EU in all areas (economy, politics, social issues) provides the most valuable help we could ever have to meet future challenges”. (CNA)




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