The government on Thursday welcomed the first PDO certificate being awarded to a Turkish Cypriot producer of halloumi/hellim as proof of the role the EU can play in efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem.

The agriculture ministry said that the development also highlights the benefits bestowed to all Cypriots by being part of the EU, and the crucial role the bloc has.

The ministry further reasoned that it supports President Nikos Christodoulides’ efforts to get the EU more involved in attempts to break the impasse on Cyprus talks.

The commission stated that “halloumi/hellim is a shared heritage of both communities of the island of Cyprus”.

So far, 58 producers in the state-controlled areas have received the necessary accreditation.

“Today’s important step demonstrates that concrete benefits of a full EU membership are available to the Turkish Cypriot community and encourages the Turkish Cypriots to proceed towards achieving compliance with EU standards,” the commission added.

But the positive assessment of the Turkish Cypriot producer is just one step of many towards getting the product traded internationally.

The agriculture ministry emphasised that the Turkish Cypriot community still needs to implement measures related to EU sanitary standards before the Halloumi/Hellim PDO cheese by Turkish Cypriot producers can be allowed to be marketed in the EU. This is expected by end of 2024.

To facilitate that process, the ministry explained that it will assign health and quality controls of cheese produced in the north to an independent body.

It added that the government has made immense efforts to secure the cheese’s PDO status, a development which benefits both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot producers.

The ministry concluded in saying that the government maintains a constructive attitude in terms of revising the Green Line Regulation so that Turkish Cypriots may also benefit.