PREZ NIK and his associates were on a high, their pride and joy levels hitting red on Tuesday when they played hosts to the Southern European Summit, also known as MED7. Little Kyproulla welcomed the president of France, the PMs of Italy, Greece, Portugal and Malta and the foreign minister of Spain.
Such events not only feed our delusions of grandeur as a country, but also acts as a big ego boost for our Nik who loves to be seen by the populace in the company of leaders of big countries on his own pad. He did not spend too much time being photographed with the PM of Malta Joseph Muscat because his country is as inconsequential as our own.
He was glowing with pride however, while walking next to the rather aloof President Emmanuel Macron and warmly welcomed Portugal’s Antonio Costa, as this was the first ever visit by a Portuguese PM to the sunshine isle. Nobody dwelled on why Spain was only represented by the foreign minister, but this could take nothing away from Nik’s finest day, so far.
Macron also helped dispel the views of the cynics that the meeting was nothing more than a PR exercise, describing our Kyproulla as a “strategic point on an aeronautical level for France”. Anyone who mentions our strategic importance automatically wins a place in our heart, but when this comes from the President of France carries substantially more weight.
JOURNALISTS also took great pride in the summit because they also enjoy feeling they are working in a country of importance, that attracts heads of governments. “For a few hours Cyprus was at the centre of world interest, while a number of foreign journalists were on the island,” gloated a journalist in Politis.
At the centre of world interest, really? What had the summit discussed that was of world interest? The right of Cyprus to exercise its sovereign rights, the reform of the EU system dealing with asylum seekers or our government’s volunteering to have a regional role for climate change?
A couple of weeks ago it was reported that our government had prepared a draft plan for an initiative on climate change that would have been presented to the summit, but that did not even attract local, let alone world interest. Little was reported about it.
You can only laugh at the thought of a country that has not even managed to introduce a method for effectively treating household rubbish and still buries it and pays big EU fines for the carbon emissions of its power stations, undertaking a regional role for dealing with climate change.
Med countries would become arid deserts much sooner than scientists predict if Nik’s government took charge of climate change, but on the plus side we could be holding Med Desert summits that would attract the leaders of all the region’s countries and not just EU member-states.
THE MEDIA helped the efforts of foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides to exaggerate the significance of the MED7 summit, while the TV stations showed him genially chatting away to the prominent guests. Apart from silk-tongued Makarios IV is also a smooth operator, oozing charm when the cameras around.
He spoke about the significance of the summit, it’s very clear (xekathara) messages and of course its “added value” (another one of his key phrases) for the Republic, in a radio interview on Wednesday. He was only reinforcing the positive messages of the morning papers.
“The seven sent powerful messages,” reported a proud Phil on its front page, informing its readers that “the main recipient was Turkey of Recep Erdogan.” Politis declared that “Europe is here” and wrote about the “Cypriot colour of the seven.”
The powerful messages with added value were included in the magnificent seven’s Declaration of Nicosia which offered support to the European companies drilling in the Cypriot EEZ and called on Turkey to respect Cyprus’ sovereignty and refrain from threats and actions that violate the Law of the Sea; it also spoke a about a reunited Cyprus in the EU.
The only disappointment was that none of the leaders referred to Cyprob in their public comments. Italy’s PM Giuseppe Conte, did not even mention energy matters, in which his country’s company, ENI, was involved, noted one paper.
IT WAS extremely difficult to share the pride and feelgood factor generated by the media and the politicians about the summit, if you were stuck at a set of traffic lights in Nicosia, waiting for an hour for the convoys of the leaders and their entourages to pass.
Neither the knowledge that Cyprus was at the centre of world interest, nor the powerful messages sent to Erdogan nor the added value of the summit diminished the anger and frustration of being stuck at a set of traffic lights for 60 minutes so that the limos of our exalted guests, escorted by police cars and motorbikes as well as an ambulance could race through.
Once the first convoy passed, you could not go because you had to wait for the next and the next and the next, listening to the irritating sound of helicopters above you combined with the sirens of the cop cars and their flashing blue lights. And once the road was opened you were stuck in a traffic jam caused by the build-up of cars waiting at the lights. Go home and give us our roads back was the powerful message I wanted to convey to the summit from my car.
MAKARIOS IV received some gushing coverage in the Kathimerini website’s #Politics Blog, which claimed that the “success of the organisation of the summit is credited to Nicos Christodoulides.” The writer claimed this was what was being said by a group of “very well-known political personalities” that he presumably overheard.
The brown-nosing of Mr Perfect did not stop there. The blogger continued that someone in the group said, that “with Christodoulides Cyprus has a future and that his path so far makes many feel proud that Cyprus can have a significant role.”
Another politician in the group, reported the awe-struck blogger, said “some feel proud and some are worried about 2023 (presidential elections)” and added: “Christodoulides is the Macron of Cyprus. Some justifiably are worried because he has capabilities and also handles matters with seriousness and effectiveness.” The blog also featured two photos of the Macron of Kyproulla, looking very pleased with himself, with the Macron of France.
The last guy who thought Kyproulla had a significant role was the original Makarios – a Paphite with delusions of grandeur, like our capable foreign minister – and he lost more than a third of the country to the Turks. If Christodoulides is the Macron of Kyproulla I will go out and buy myself a gilet jaune because I am very worried about 2023 even though I have no plan of standing in the elections.
AFTER the summit we learned that a naval station would be set up in Mari with France being given permanent facilities there. The matter was discussed at the half-hour meeting between the Prez and Macron on Tuesday explained the latter’s reference to Kyproulla’s strategic role.
According to press reports, the project serves the interests of both countries – Cyprus wants to become more involved in the European security structures while France wants to strengthen its presence in the region. Only Akel criticised the idea that this would strengthen us, saying this “is a dangerous illusion that will lead our country to new adventures.”
The Russian foreign ministry has not censured us about this development yet, but it will. Phil, which has always championed the myth that we should exploit our geo-strategic position, saw the news as confirmation of “French cover for Nicosia on security issues.”
So now France will protect us from the Turks and, who knows, liberate the north for us. Perhaps the defence co-operation with our other strategic ally, Israel, which was also supposed to make us a regional power, did not work out so we found a new ally to protect us.
WE HEARD of another do-gooder organisation last Wednesday – the Drug Free World foundation. The representative of this body, a Stella Constantinou that some press reports also referred to as Esmeralda, procured an invitation to the House education committee meeting at which she revealed that a canteen manager at a Limassol secondary school was selling drugs to teenage students.
She had heard this from some parents, who were allegedly afraid to report the case to the police because the canteen drug dealer was threatening them. After police investigated this nonsense, it turned out that there was not any truth in Esmeralda’s yarn, which was probably told at the House in order to raise the public profile of her Foundation that nobody had heard of until last week.
The Drug-Free World foundation, it turned out was funded by the Church of Scientology, a big, powerful cult/sect that purports to be a religion and is recognised as such in the US. There are Drug-Free World foundations in other countries and they are all linked to Scientology. Esemeralda admitted her foundation was funded by Scientology, but claimed she had no links to the Church.
YOU HAVE to have a pretty low IQ or be a Phil columnist to believe that the Church of Scientology funds these foundations because it wants to create a drug-free world. This is a fantasy objective, like a world without poverty, but it is a noble sounding cause designed to recruit people to the Church.
One Phil columnist defended the funding of the foundation by the Scientologists, as it was for a good cause, while another went on a deranged rant against the “blind, hypocrites” who fail to see the death staring vulnerable youths in the face and refusing to clamp down on the “merchants of death.” It was a way over the top considering the debate was about cannabis use which never killed anyone, despite its widespread use by the young.
Even Prez Nik believes it is harmless. In his 2013 election campaign he said he would consider legalising it. Of course, he never had any intention of doing so, but he was smart enough to realise the dope-smokers’ vote was too big to be ignored.
THE CHAIRMAN of the education committee, Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis, who had invited Esmeralda to the meeting, felt obliged to issue a statement underlining his adherence to the Orthodox faith. While he welcomed Drug Free World’s efforts to combat drugs this on no account meant that “I embrace, approve or promote heretical or other, unrelated to drug issues, convictions of its members, associates or friends.” I hope this will have convinced Archbishop Chrys that Hadjiyiannis is not a Scientologist.
SPEAKING of crackpots, Dr Eleni Stavrou caused a bit of stir by posting on her social media account picture of her attendance of General Grivas’ memorial service and support for enosis. She wrote: “Dighenis is not flesh to be consumed by the earth, he is a noble ideal. Immortal Greece-Cyprus enosis. Cyprus is Greek. Macedonia is Greek.”
It is the sort of meaningless slogans you’d expect some teenage Elamite to write, but Dr Stavrou is not only a grown-up she is also a Disy candidate for the European elections. She was probably included in the ballot paper to attract the votes of the nationalist headbangers of Limassol and her enosis message was directed at them. Nobody sane is going to vote for her.
What was bizarre was that the government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou took it upon himself to defend Stavrou and give assurances that enosis was not on the agenda. Is Prodromou moonlighting as Stavrou’s campaign manager? He only has to defend the crackpot politicians in the government, not the rest of them.