The solution to the Cyprus problem should be a European one, Margaritis Schinas, the Chief Spokesperson of the European Commission said on Friday.
Schinas was speaking during an open discussion organised by the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus and the Press and Information Office. The event was in the framework of EC`s citizens` dialogues for the Future of Europe. It was also attended by students from seven secondary schools in Cyprus.
Schinas said that the solution to the Cyprus problem should be a European one and also referred to the role of Cyprus as a bridge between the EU and the Arab world.
He also said Turkey was “indeed a difficult neighbour” and we must find ways to coexist and cooperate in areas such as terrorism, migration crisis and security, keeping Ankara on a steady EU path.
In his opening statement, Schinas said EU institutions themselves were responsible for failing to present the EU in simple terms its citizens. He described the EU as a family, “our shield and spear”, and it was not a distant, bureaucratic mechanism.
“We have had the longest period of peace in Europe, a continent where almost everyone has fought with everyone else, we have managed to improve the standard of living eight times and moreover we have managed to promote EU as a soft power,” he said.
All governments, MPs, municipalities, farmers, civil society need to be involved in bridging the gap between Brussels and European voters, he added.
Schinas said that many citizens have genuine questions about the EU and what Brussels does and how they can benefit from EU projects and funding, “and we have an obligation to answer and convince them”.
Referring to the migration crisis, Schinas said “crisis management” was not a solution and that people from countries of origin, such as Africa, should be encouraged to stay in their own countries and get education and jobs. The EU has the mechanisms to further assist Cyprus in dealing with migration flows, if asked, he added.