It appears as if the EU will extend the freeze on the 2004 regulation that would allow direct trade between the bloc at the north of the island, Disy leader Averof Neophytou has said.
Speaking in Paphos, Neophytou said the talks on the regulation look likely to end next week in Brussels, and that the freeze would be extended.
A delegation of ruling Disy, led by Neophytou, was in Brussels recently in a lobbying drive to keep the regulation suppressed.
“The European People’s Party had for some years been in the position that this directive and the direct trade proposal lacked a legal background and that it should have been withdrawn long ago,” said Neophytou.
He added that since the EPP did not have the majority to have the regulation withdrawn “we will join other political groups, at least for it to remain frozen.” This would be positive, he said.
The EPP is the group with the most MEPs (182) in the European Parliament, though it does not hold a majority in the body.
During their visit to Brussels, the Disy team coordinated with the EPP, which is steadfastly against the direct trade regulation which, although it was passed by the European Council in July 2004 has remained in limbo.
Sources told the Cyprus Mail that the issue of direct trade between the EU and the north of Cyprus was back on the agenda now because it has been classed as pending (unresolved) by the European Parliament.
Every five years, at the start of each new European Parliament session (the current one began this year) it is procedure for the body to revisit all matters classed as pending.
Disy and the EPP aim to push for a resolution that will permanently strike the direct trade issue from the agenda; failing that, they will motion for the matter to remain frozen as it is now.
Turkish Cypriot politicians were likewise in Brussels to fight and keep the direct trade regulation alive, even if in an inactive state.
The direct trade regulation is formally known as ‘Council Regulation on special conditions for trade with those areas of the Republic of Cyprus in which the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control.’
It was intended to end the economic isolation of Turkish Cypriots.
Although the regulation was passed in 2004, in 2010 the European Parliament’s Legal Service found that the legal basis for it was flawed.
The regulation has remained inactive ever since.