The European Commission on Wednesday adopted a €30.7m action programme for the Turkish Cypriot community that includes substantial aid to help producers benefit from the halloumi PDO package by conforming to the relevant EU standards.

“This support from the Aid Programme will include improving the food safety and hygiene standards, eradicating animal diseases, and developing a system for animal identification and registration, which would be EU compatible and allow an island wide solution. The programme also includes continued support for green infrastructure and environment, in line with the European Green Deal priorities,” the Commission said.

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira noted that the EU’s aid programme has consistently proven to bring very tangible benefits to the people of Cyprus.

“This new set of projects seeks to support economic development, reconciliation and confidence building measures including substantial assistance so that Turkish Cypriot producers can benefit from the Halloumi/Hellim PDO package adopted in April this year. Despite the current political situation, the programme remains as relevant as ever and we will remain steadfast in our support to the reunification of the island,” she said.

The programme will continue to provide financing for the Committee on Missing Persons and the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage. Further support will be offered to bi-communal Technical Committees to help them carry out their activities more effectively. In addition, support for civil society will help to enhance island-wide cooperation between NGOs and inspire further bi-communal activities, thereby contributing to the process of reunification, it said.

The programme will secure the continuation of EU information and communication activities in the Turkish Cypriot community. Finally, a scholarship scheme will allow young Turkish Cypriots to gain academic and professional experience in EU Member States, including in the College of Europe.

The EU’s aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community aims to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community with particular emphasis on the economic integration of the island and on improving contacts between the two communities and with the EU.

Between 2006 and 2021, €623 million has been allocated. It is managed by the Commission’s DG REFORM.