Cypriot EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, has said that European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker had no intention to put any pressure on either side in Cyprus when he said on Tuesday that “this is the moment for reunification and if we are missing this opportunity, this opportunity will never come back.”
Responding to a question during an open dialogue with the citizens on “Challenges & Priorities for Europe in 2017”, at the University of Cyprus, Stylianides said that with his statement, at the opening of the “The missing lives of Cyprus” photo exhibition at the European Parliament, Juncker merely acknowledged that this was the first time that leaders in both communities in Cyprus wanted to work with a view to reaching a compromise.
Stylianides noted that the new geo-political environment, with the presence of Russia in Syria, created a win-win situation, adding that he shared President Nicos Anastasiades` position that “we can reach a settlement in Cyprus with no winners and no losers.”
Responding to another question, Stylianides said that an envoy of the European Commission`s president was present at the Cyprus talks, so that the settlement reached would be in line with EU values. He added that once a settlement was found, Cyprus would become a pillar of stability in a turbulent region.
Referring to the EU, he said that it was experiencing the deepest crisis since its establishment. He noted that even though European institutions continue their work, the EU would be able to move forward with more confidence after the elections in Germany, France and the Netherlands, which play a decisive role as regards the unity of the bloc.
Stylianides said he did not want to be pessimistic about the future, adding that insanity would not prevail.
The Commissioner said that a decade of financial crisis in the EU, which Cyprus experienced in 2013 with increased unemployment, had caused social inequalities and has questioned the European development model.
Referring to the biggest immigration flow to Europe since the Second World War and the terrorist attacks that had called into question security in the EU, he noted that populism and nationalism had flourished under these conditions.
He said populism and nationalism in the past had resulted to two World Wars and expressed his fear over some arguments put forward by members of the European Parliament.
Stylianides said that the EU was a leading power in the world as regards humanitarian and development assistance, adding that the Union promoted peace, and that peace, security and welfare were safeguarded only through the Union and not on a national level.