President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola met with President Nikos Christodoulides on Sunday as part of her official visit to Cyprus.
The two held a meeting at the presidential palace where they discussed the Cyprus problem and migration and European election. Metsola later accompanied Christodoulides to the parade in the capital marking Cyprus’ Independence Day, which the president heralded, saying this sent strong messages to the world.
He noted that despite the problems, difficulties and challenges on the Cyprus problem, efforts will continue and “we will do everything possible, including using the important tools offered by the EU, to achieve the objective of resuming talks and finding a solution to the Cyprus problem”.
Meanwhile Metsola said the Cyprus problem is a European one, expressing her support for the appointment of a UN envoy.
She added the EU will never be complete while Cyprus is divided.
On the topic of migration, Christodoulides shared that Cyprus has been receiving the highest number of asylum seekers in proportion to its population in recent years, and despite the measures taken recently that have led to a reduction in the number of migrants coming to Cyprus, more needs to be done on EU’s part.
They also discussed the 2024 European elections, which will be held next June.
Metsola said that the anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Cyprus marks the modern, democratic and independent course of the country in history, the successes and achievements of its people, but also recalls the tragedies the country has experienced for 63 years.
The President of the European Parliament sent a message of strength, hope, unity and endurance for the independence of Cyprus and paid tribute to all those who made sacrifices for the liberation of the country and for the strengthening of its democratic institutions.
She added that the only viable solution is a sovereign European state, a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation under the auspices of the UN and on the basis of European values. She also underlined that the European Parliament will do everything possible to support Cyprus.
On the issue of migration, Metsola noted that both Cyprus and its neighbouring countries have been receiving a dramatically increased number of migrants in recent years, noting that Europe must manage the issue as a whole, and no Member State should manage it alone. She noted that the issue should be managed in a humanitarian and fair way for those in need and in a strict way for traffickers.
Metsola was asked about the issue of the missing persons in Cyprus and the role of the European Union on putting pressure to Turkey to cooperate by giving access to military sites and archives. She noted that she is waiting for the report from the recent visit of the EP rapporteur on missing persons.
In the same context, Christodoulides was asked if the issue of missing persons could be a confidence building measure to break the deadlock in the Cyprus problem in order to resume the dialogue, stating that of course it is a measure that can help the political process, noting that above all it is a humanitarian issue.
Asked to comment on the rise of far-right and anti-European movements and on whether there is a risk of destruction of the European construction, the President of the Republic said that “those who imagine or envision destruction of the European construction will certainly be disappointed”.
“We, in Cyprus, even more than other Member States, have an obligation to participate en masse in the electoral process for the election of the members of the European Parliament”, said President Christodoulides, noting that on behalf of the Cyprus Government, special emphasis will be placed on the participation of young people.
Metsola said the last four years have seen an unprecedented unity during the pandemic while the recovery and resilience plan has allowed economies like Cyrus to recover from a very difficult economic period with the digital and green transition.