President Nikos Christodoulides on Monday called on lawmakers across the political spectrum in Cyprus to be more involved in European affairs, after he received the annual European Parliament report from the head of European Parliament office in Cyprus Andreas Kettis.
He also said he wished that second presidency of the European Council for Cyprus, scheduled to take place between January and June 2025, will be even more successful than the previous one in 2012.
Chairing the European Council effectively means acting in an executive capacity undertaking the planning, organising, coordinating and chairing of meetings of the Council and its preparatory bodies, as well as the various EU meetings including intergovernmental conferences.
According to a statement released by the President’s office, the report conveyed the EU’s satisfaction with Christodoulides’ election and his pro-European views.
“Brussels is not far from Cyprus,” Kettis said in his report. “It is very important for a small member state like our country to be at the core of the European integration.
“The mission of the European Parliament office in Cyprus is to inform Cypriot European citizens about what is going on in the European Parliament, both for the resolutions and for the legislation it produces together with the Council.”
Kettis also added that efforts must be made in the field of education in Cyprus so the country’s youth can get acquainted with their European rights.
“Cyprus needs to include some elements relating to the history of the European process,” the report said. “It is very important to start from primary schools, so that children get to know their rights.”
Addressing the report, Christodoulides said its release coincides with his return from Brussels, where he met key EU officials, and presented the case for greater EU involvement in the efforts to resume the stalled Cyprus problem negotiations.
“I am aware of the excellent work done by the European Parliament office in Cyprus, which I believe is recognised by everyone in the country,” he said, confirming that future efforts will be aimed at Cyprus’ younger generations.
“Personally, I am not yet satisfied with the extent to which my fellow citizens understand the importance of being involved in EU affairs,” Christodoulides continued.
“We have a responsibility as a government, and this is something I mentioned both publicly and to the Council of Ministers, to make people feel like European citizens, considering that our accession to the EU was our most important achievement.
“We are still building up our membership and clearly we need to be doing more.”
Christodoulides then said that the legislative work of the European Parliament is of crucial relevance in Cyprus, since a significant amount of the country’s legislation is the adoption of decisions taken in Brussels.
“What we need to understand, both as the executive and the legislative, and I also include Cypriot MEPs, is that we should actively participate in the shaping of legislation in the European Parliament. This is what I consider the European Parliament office in Cyprus should strive for.
“The EU is our common home, our common family, the European family, and we must have a more active, more substantial role in the discussions that take place and in the decisions that are taken,” the President concluded.