By Jean Christou
ALTHOUGH NOT directly involved in the Cyprus negotiations, the EU, through its institutions could play a role in a final settlement, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Monday.
“It should be clear that we do not expect that the European Union to play the role of advocate for our side in the negotiations process,” said Kasoulides.
However he said Cyprus expected that when there was a need, the EU should express its views on the various proposals that both parties submit to the negotiating table so that the resulting solution is compatible with the acquis.
The only solution would be one where a reunited Cyprus would be able to perform its duties as a member state, and one that would not impede the proper functioning and decision-making processes within the bloc.
“This should be understood by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot community so they can abandon the wasteful and unacceptable positions on permanent derogations from the acquis or primary [EU] law,” Kasoulides said.
“Permanent derogations will ultimately work against the Turkish Cypriots themselves in the sense that, if accepted, they will be easily overturned by European and international courts especially if they violate individual human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
The minister was speaking at an event organised by the Association for Social Reform (OPEK) to honour the late Yiannos Kranidiotis who died 15 years ago when a private jet he was travelling on with other Greek government officials lost altitude, killing several of those on board.
Cypriot–born Kranidiotis who served in various roles in the Andreas Papandreou government, and was an MEP, believed in a ‘European solution’ for Cyprus, Kasoulides said, but had died before the island acceded to the bloc in May 2004.
Kasoulides also spoke about the enhanced role of Cyprus in the region, which would not have been as great if the island was not an EU member state, he said. Membership had also helped the island’s negotiating position by strengthening its sovereignty. Cyprus’ shift in its foreign policy to take advantage of its strategic location to help in the war against terrorism, and its cooperation with its neighbours on hydrocarbons, was a response to any attempt by Turkey to undermine the Republic or upgrade the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state, Kasoulides said.
By Jean Christou