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‘Europe could have shown more solidarity with Cyprus’

Europe could have shown more solidarity with Cyprus, former Cypriot EU Commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou has said.

In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), on the occasion of the conclusion of her term in office, Vassiliou said that whereas the EU demonstrates its support for Cyprus on the Cyprus problem or Turkish provocations in the Republic`s Exclusive Economic Zone, at the same time there was an inability on the part of the EU to take concrete actions.

Vassiliou served as Commissioner for Health from 2008-2010 and Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth from 2010-2014.

While solidarity was a fundamental principle of the EU, she said that on the Cyprus issue, the EEZ and the bailout, the  EU could have shown more solidarity.
“Of course, each issue has its own parameters. For example, there are many issues that touch the financial system which are not regulated by Brussels,” she said.

On the EEZ issue, Vassiliou said that while EU institutions and EU partners showed understanding and support to Cyprus, at the same time, there wass weakness on the part of the EU to effectively deal with political issues, particularly in the case of Cyprus` national problem, due to the constantly upgraded role of Turkey in the region.

Regarding Cyprus` image in the EU, the former Commissioner said that the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2012 was evaluated by all EU institutions as a very successful one and there was also a positive image as regards Nicosia`s decisiveness in dealing with the economic crisis.

Asked about the main problems that Europe would face in the coming years, she referred to unemployment especially youth unemployment, noting that there were currently two million employment positions in Europe which were vacant due to lack of adequate skills.

“The reform of the national education and training systems so that they meet the current needs of the labor market is necessary and Member States should aim towards this direction. From our side we have submitted to Member States important recommendations which I hope will be assessed and exploited,” she said.

But the greatest challenge, she said, was to agree on a faster decision-making process by the European Council, with greater unity, “something very difficult these days”.
“Let me remind you that various initiatives taken by the European Commission for the creation of a banking union needed three years to be implemented,” she said. (CNA)

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