The Dutch EU Presidency will do all that is needed to facilitate a solution to the Cyprus problem, the country’s Ambassador in Nicosia Brechje Schwachöfer told the Cyprus News Agency in an interview, as her country assumes the reins of power within the Union for the next six months.
On Turkey’s EU accession course in relation to its obligations towards Cyprus, the ambassador said the Dutch presidency would act as “an honest broker” ensuring that the interests of all 28 member states are taken into account.
Outlining the priorities of the presidency, she referred to migration and international security, innovative growth, a strong European Monetary Union and climate and energy issues.
Asked how the Presidency could contribute more actively to the Cyprus peace process, given that the non-solution of the Cyprus problem has a negative impact on EU relations with other players outside the Union, Schwachöfer said: “A solution to the Cyprus problem is not only in the interest of Cypriots, but also of the EU and the international community as a whole. As the Presidency, we will do all that is needed to facilitate a solution to the Cyprus problem.”
Referring to the re-energising of Turkey’s accession course, the ambassador said the decision to implement an action plan to limit the number of migrants entering the EU was taken by all 28 Member States and Turkey and as such, was a given for the Dutch presidency.
“We will work, together with the member states, the Commission and Mrs. Mogherini, the High Representative, to further its implementation during the next 6 months,” the ambassador said.
Asked how the EU could reconcile Turkey’s refusal to comply with EU decisions on Cyprus and re-energising Ankara’s accession process, the ambassador pointed out that the decisions taken by the 28 member states vis-a-vis Turkey were for the Dutch Presidency the basis on which to work.
“In the way forward, we will operate as an honest broker, ensuring that the interests of all 28 member states are taken into account. As the Presidency, we will remind Turkey, as we have done as Netherlands repeatedly over the last years, of its obligation to comply with relevant EU decisions on Cyprus. As far as accession is concerned, all the criteria that the EU has set will have to be adhered to,” she added.
The priorities of the presidency will be migration and international security, as well as terrorism, innovative growth and a deeper and fairer internal market. Another priority is a strong European Monetary Union, the ambassador said.
“Vast challenges are facing the EU, such as terrorist attacks, migration flows, climate change, the situation in the Middle East and the economy. The member states of the EU cannot face any of these challenges alone. We are stronger together and need each other, through the EU, to deal with these,” the ambassador said.
“We want the EU to connect to its citizens, by focusing on transparency and visibility, as well as concrete results that benefit the people and if we work hard on innovation as a key factor in our economies, we will achieve growth and jobs as a way out of the economic crisis.” (CNA)