A letter to European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders
I write to you with reference to your recent interview with Aljazeera, the concluding headline caption of which was “EU justice chief mulls legal action over Cyprus golden passports”.
As an EU/Cypriot citizen, I was concerned at the ease with which you seemed to adopt the news network’s argument based on selective and out of context facts, a network banned in many countries for biased reporting and accused of serving Qatari and allied group interests (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Jazeera)
With my basic layman’s understanding of justice “the ideal of fairness, impartiality etc”, especially with regards to the punishment of wrongdoings, I would have assumed that as a public servant of EU member states and its citizens – representing the ideals of justice – you would have been a lot more careful in seemingly jumping to conclusions based on a news network report.
Declaring on camera that your action to-date was to send a letter to the Cypriot authorities asking for explanations, implied an assumption of guilt – until proven innocent.
Being new to the position of Justice Commissioner, and having to face – I’m sure unfounded – allegations of corruption against your person, I would have thought you would be extra sensitive in handling such allegations, especially in your assigned public service position.
The issue of citizenship for investment is a hotly debated issue within Cyprus as well as the rest of the EU – especially the 20 or so EU countries that offer such schemes. Any flaws or even discontinuation of such schemes should be subject to serious debate within the EU and not media exchanges, as it effects member state economies, citizens livelihoods etc.
In the eyes of many Cypriots, the timing of these biased “revelations”, is also a matter of national security. Qatar’s very close alliance and dependence on Turkey in Libya, their disagreements with Arab neighbours and Aljazeera’s history of biased reporting; would justifiably explain the view held by many, of ulterior motives behind the report at this moment in time.
As I’m sure you are well aware, half of our country has been occupied by Turkey for the past 46 years (and technically still at war). Over this period Turkey has never shied away from threatening Cyprus militarily, or trying to damage its economy, in an attempt to weaken our country’s resolve, and force an unjust solution to our problem. This has especially evident today with recent events in the Eastern Mediterranean.
As such, I would implore you to work with Cyprus (an imperfect but stable democracy with a free judiciary and press), as well as other EU countries, to address the “citizenship for investment” issues, in a just and constructive manner.