BY GENERAL admission, the departing Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides is one of the most successful commissioners in the history of the European Union.
I will not enumerate in this short article his achievements in his five-year term in office because I will run out of space and, in any event, this is information, which is widely available. Nor shall I focus on his universal recognition and acceptance by politicians, both inside and outside the European Union.
Merely, for the sake of those who are acting in bad faith, I would set out two recent references to the person of Christos Stylianides.
The first one comes from the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, who recently stated: “I cannot imagine a better person to represent our Union, our values and the real meaning of European solidarity”.
The second reference comes from Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the prime minister of Greece, who said: “I welcome you as the prime minister of Greece in order to congratulate you for the excellent manner in which you have accomplished and still accomplish your duties as a commissioner holding a particularly critical portfolio”.
Needless to say, that recognition has not come by accident. It has been the result of the integrity, honesty and ethos of Christos Stylianides. It has come about as a result of his political foresight and his ability to transform his vision into concrete achievements; his ability to coordinate and motivate his associates thus achieving impressive results.
Unfortunately, few Cypriot leaders have the qualities of Christos Stylianides. This observation explains the present political degradation of Cyprus and the fact that “partition”, ie the persistent goal of certain extreme Turkish Cypriot elements, is, today, looming in the horizon and, indeed, it has been adopted by certain marginal elements on the Greek Cypriot side, under the disgraceful and treasonous slogan “we on this side and they on the other side”.
Unquestionably, the distancing of Christos Stylianides from these schools of thought and his refusal to accept arrangements and plans, which aimed at the maximisation of an ephemeral economic benefit, generated feelings of enmity among a small section of the Cypriot community. This cost not only did not bother Christos Stylianides but, in fact, it empowered and strengthened him to carry on in his honourable struggle for a better world, for a better Cyprus.
I consider Christos Stylianides as one of my best friends, despite the fact that I have never met him in person. My feelings towards him do not stem from any sort of a personal connection or a blood relationship but they are based on an objective assessment of his work, of his character and of his competence. I have the feeling that Christos Stylianides has not reached the end of his political career, as yet. He will continue to serve his country and his services may prove to be ‘life-saving’.
At this stage I would confine myself to saying to Christos Stylianides: Your home country is grateful to you for your ethos and the patriotic work you have accomplished. We wish you all the best.
Christos Panayiotides is a regular columnist for the Cyprus Mail, Sunday Mail and Alithia