The European Commission on Monday adopted an Annual Action Programme for a total amount of €35.4 million identifying new projects to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus, it said.
The objective of the programme is to encourage the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community with particular emphasis on the economic integration of the island, on improving contacts between the two communities and with the EU, and on preparation for the acquis Communautaire, a statement said.
Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “Our aid programme remains as relevant as ever. This new set of projects seeks to improve infrastructure, support economic development, foster reconciliation, and bring Turkish Cypriots closer to the EU. I am confident it will contribute to the settlement effort which is the ultimate goal of our assistance.”
The priorities of the programme include continued support for the preparation and financing of key infrastructure projects and for environmental protection. Further measures are planned to improve health and food safety standards. Support for education will also be provided to improve teaching and learning standards and to reinforce a large-scale programme for science laboratories in schools.
“With a view to building confidence between the two communities, the programme will continue to provide substantial financing for the Committee on Missing Persons and the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage,” the Commission said.
“In addition, continuous support for civil society will help to enhance Cyprus-wide cooperation between NGOs and stimulate bi-communal activities, thereby contributing to the process of reunification.”
The scholarship programme, it added, will allow young Turkish Cypriots to gain academic and professional experience in EU Member States.
Assistance to the Turkish Cypriot community is provided through the EU Aid Programme. Between 2006 and 2019, some €555 million has been allocated for projects under the Aid Programme. The programme aims to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community. It is managed by the Commission’s Structural Reform Support Service.