Granting Cyprus accession to the EU was a fundamental and decisive move and the bloc will always be by its side to support it, European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas said on Monday.

Schinas made the brief comment after he was received by President Nikos Christodoulides at the presidential palace in Nicosia.

“Every time I come to Cyprus, I feel even more confident about how fundamental, decisive the choice of Cyprus’ accession to the EU was,” he told the media after the meeting.

“I see a European Cyprus that steps firmly on its feet with self-confidence, and we will all be by its side in this effort.”

Schinas said he has followed Cyprus’ European course from its first steps “and I consider myself a lifelong friend, organic partner of the Republic of Cyprus in its European course,” he added.

He also said he and Christodoulides had known each other for decades, though it was the first time they’d met since the latter was elected president.

“We had an overall review of all current European developments and of course we talked about the Cyprus issue and the immigration issue, which we will deal with later today in the meeting with the ministers dealing with the European lifestyle portfolio,” he said.

Schinas is due to meet Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou later on Monday. He will also meet Education Minister Athena Michaelidou, and Justice Minister Anna Procopiou and participate in the opening ceremony of the Nicola David Pinedo building of the Cyprus Cancer Research Institute (CCRI).

On Tuesday, Schinas will meet House President Annita Demetriou and Archbishop Georgios.

Asked about the result of Sunday’s elections in Greece, Schinas said the results were clear. They showed a “clear understanding of a political coming of age of the Greek political system”.

Schinas is on the island along with the EU Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hahn, and Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakidou.

Hahn also met Christodoulides on Monday morning. Later the president told journalists his meetings with Schinas and Hahn were “very good”.

“Mr Hahn and I discussed EU budget issues, but also issues concerning the European People’s Party, he is the Vice-President of the EPP, he has been a Commissioner for many years, we have a friendly relationship since I was foreign minister, the same with Mr Schinas,” said Christodoulides.

“We talked mainly about migration. We consider the EU as a partner in this effort to deal with this problem and of course we talked specifically about our proposal for more active involvement of the EU in the Cyprus issue”.

Kyriakidou who will be in Nicosia until May 26, will also participate in the opening ceremony at the CCRI, while on Thursday the health commissioner will speak in a webinar entitled Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan – First EU4Health Project Showcase, organised by the commission for European Cancer Week.

On Friday the commissioner will speak at the 19th annual meeting of the prostate cancer organisation, Europa Uomo, and visit the Europa Donna House in Larnaca.