Cyprus will assume the EU Presidency in the first half of 2026 and is aiming in the meantime to create a deputy ministry of European Affairs, it was announced on Tuesday.

The last time Cyprus held the six-month rotating presidency was in 2012.

In an interview with CNA to mark Europe Day, May 9, Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos, said that the goal was for the 2026 presidency to be even more successful than that of 2012.

“We have a position and a point of view in the whole framework of the operation of the EU and this precisely helps us to be a reliable partner, to be a constructive interlocutor and to take advantage of our geographic position,” he said.

“Cyprus has the ability, and has proven this, through multilateral and tripartite schemes, in the region in which we are located, a region which is of particular importance for the EU and not only, to act as a bridge between the EU and the neighbouring countries,” he added.

Kombos said EU membership was a two-way relationship.

“We must strengthen our presence and our role and our influence. And influence grows through credibility, and credibility goes through various issues,” he said.

This goes beyond the Cyprus issue, the minister said, referring to the invasion of Ukraine, and adding that the position of the Republic on this had been “crystal clear”.

“Being the victim of an invasion, we could not have had any other approach, and this is something that is measured by increasing our credibility,” Kombos added.

Creating a deputy ministry for European Affairs was definitely under consideration, the foreign minister said. If it is to come about, it will happen before the 2026 presidency.

He referred to the 2012 presidency saying it had shown that there were several issues of an administrative nature that must be resolved, from staffing to strengthening of human resources.

“The bar has been raised compared to 2012 and our effort is exactly to respond, seeing also the examples of other member states whose second presidency was even more successful than the first”, he said.