Cyprus Mail

Cypriot MEPs cautious about a ‘multi-speed Europe’

European Commission headquarters in Brussels

Cypriot MEPs are cautious about a ‘multi-speed Europe’ and the shift of more powers to Brussels after Brexit, it was reported on Sunday.

In an interviews with the Chinese news agency Xinhua, Akel MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou and Disy’s Lefteris Christoforou agreed it would be risky.

“Any effort by big countries such as Germany, France, Spain and Italy for a multi-speed Europe would not be liked by the European peoples,” said Hadjigeorgiou.

Christoforou, an MEP from the ruling right-wing DISY party, also told Xinhua that a multi-speed Europe would be a risky task.
A ‘multi-speed European Union’ was one of five alternative options suggested in a White Paper on Brexit by European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker.

It suggests faster and further integration of the bloc.

“Social and economic cohesion, solidarity and cooperation cannot operate in a multi-speed Europe. Peoples want a unified Europe which will be strong, indivisible, that would safeguard an equal presence of states, governments and citizens, and not a multi-divided Europe,” Christoforou told Xinhua.

He and Hadjigeorgiou also believe that Brussels garnering more power at the expense of national governments would hurt rather than help the bloc.
“That would result in the trust of the European citizens in the European Union being completely lost,” Hadjigeorgiou said. “No one can seriously disagree with Juncker’s call for closer cooperation. But under what terms and who will decide what opportunities and capabilities one-half of EU states would have in such closer cooperation.”

Christoforou, despite reservations did however supported further integration, especially in the fields of common foreign policy, defense and security.

Hadjigeorgiou too said that due to Turkey, Cyprus needed the protection offered by its EU membership.

“Additionally, we have an obligation to reform our state which would be responsible vis-a-vis its citizens, with a sound economy, a health system and a sound education. A state that could upgrade its role in the European Union to some degree,” he said.

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