The European Commission’s position regarding the Turkish embargo on Cypriot-flagged ships and airplanes remains unchanged and has been clear for a long time, said EU Transport Commissioner Adina Valean.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Minister of Transport Yannis Karousos and the Deputy Shipping Minister Vassilis Demetriades on the sidelines of their meeting in Limassol on Monday, Valean said “we are standing by Cyprus on this and we are using all the opportunities internationally we have to raise this issue”.

She went on to say that “there are political issues with the overall situation” and “the European Commission made it clear a long time ago and will continue to do so”.

For his part, Cyprus’ Shipping deputy Minister said that “it takes two to tango” adding that it is not only up to the government or the European Commission.

“Our problem not only in shipping but also in aviation, it is well reflected in the annual report on Turkey and this is actually the reason the transport chapter has never opened for negotiations with Turkey,” Demetriades said.

Demetriades added that Cyprus is ready to negotiate with Turkey any time and reminded that President Nicos Anastasiades included this as one of the confidence building measures for the peace negotiations to resume.

“Of course Turkey refused that offer so we still continue to raise this issue in all international fora and of course we do believe that the Commission always stands by our side because this is an issue against all the principles of international law and the acquis communautaire”, he stressed.

A number of issues related to sea and air transport were discussed and Valean stressed the importance of Cyprus’ connectivity with the rest of Europe and hailed the implementation of the decision for a passenger connection between the port of Limassol and the Greek port of Piraeus.

Meanwhile, the EU Commissioner noted that decarbonisation is the main challenge for the entire transport sector and indicated that, “in addition to shipping and air transport, as citizens we want cleaner cities, less crowded cities with less traffic congestion”.

“We need to cut emissions in a dramatic way in all transport modes and we have to use everything in our power and LNG is part of the solution for a transitional period,” Valean stressed.

“The challenge we face is to see what fuel is more appropriate for what. So this is why we proposed, for aviation, refuel EU, which creates an obligation of blending for fuel providers in order to have sustainable fuel on board and for maritime we leave it very open depending on operation to have flexibility. And that leaves quite an array for fuel types,” she added.