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‘Cypriots must know EU is backing them’

Manfred Weber and Disy leader Averof Neophytou outside the presidential palace (Christos Theodorides)

Cyprus’ division is a European issue and must be upgraded to have more importance for the rest of the EU, leader of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament and candidate for the Commission presidency Manfred Weber said on Friday.

Weber, in Cyprus as the first stop of his campaign, met President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday, with whom he exchanged views about the challenges ahead.

“We agree first of all that the Cyprus question is a European issue,” the German politician told reporters afterwards. “The United Nations has a big and important role, there is no doubt, but the Cyprus question must be upgraded also on a European level, it must have more importance for the rest of the European Union. Again, the Cyprus issue is a European issue, that is the main message. The Cypriots must know that the rest of the EU is backing up their positions and their concerns.”

Weber expressed hope there will be progress in the upcoming months.

The European Parliament elections will take place towards the end of May.

“For me Cyprus is the best place to underline the clear EPP leadership under the leadership of President Anastasiades, and the Democratic Rally showed that the outcome and the success of this policy especially on the economic terms, is a positive one and that is why we use Cyprus as an example, that the whole EU should be under the leadership of the EPP that creates stability, that creates economic growth and also strength for the global challenges that are ahead of us,” Weber said.

“I intend to make the next five years positive for the Europeans as a whole. I very much count on the support of President Anastasiades during the Council decisions.”

Disy leader Averof Neophytou, who was also in the meeting, thanked Weber “for his very clear remarks concerning the Cyprus issue, that if he will be the next President of the European Commission, the Cyprus problem will be upgraded and will be a European issue.”

He also referred to Weber’s vision for Europe. “The wrong perception that Europe is only for the banks and the economy has to be changed,” he said. Europe, Neophytou pointed out, should deal with daily issues and health issues, adding that fighting cancer is a priority for Weber.

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