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Christodoulides urges decisive EU action on Gaza crisis

President Christodoulides at the European Council
President Christodoulides at the European Council

The European Council must take decisive action over the situation in Gaza, as there is a war raging “in our neighbourhood” President Nikos Christodoulides said ahead of the session on Thursday, while he expressed the hope Cyprus could have more funding to tackle its immigration issues.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Christodoulides said it is necessary for the EU to discuss Gaza and the dramatic humanitarian situation.

“If we do not take decisions over Gaza, then I fear that we have failed as a European Union.”

Cyprus is one of the EU member states closest to the raging war, which is trying to play “an essential role, particularly on the humanitarian aspect.”

He was referring to the much-touted maritime humanitarian corridor, for which Israeli technocrats visited Cyprus to help assist with the logistical aspects. EU officials have already warned of ‘logistical difficulties’ with Cyprus’ humanitarian corridor idea.

“I hope that there will be a meaningful discussion and that we will have conclusions about the developments in the Middle East,” Christodoulides stressed.

“There is a war in our neighbourhood, a war in the neighbourhood of the European Union. And if today we don’t discuss this issue effectively, thoroughly, and if there are no conclusions from today’s Council, then we are sending a very wrong message as the European Union.”

Responding to a journalist’s question about whether it is possible to have a result when there are many different opinions, Christodoulides noted that he understood not everyone was on the same page, “but if we cannot at least agree on the dramatic humanitarian situation that exists, and the need to respond as a European Union, then I repeat, I am very sorry, but as a European Union we will have failed”.

Asked to comment on whether Hungary’s stance might also affect the debate, he highlighted this would certainly play a role, but it was important to find a common ground.

Christodoulides said he had discussed the matter in a meeting with the European People’s Party, and that he would bring it up during the European Council.

Cyprus’ president described the upcoming council as a “difficult” one with a number of issues to be discussed, and vastly differing opinions among member states.

The review of the budgetary framework was expected to dominate the session, he added. “This is an important issue. From Cyprus’ perspective, it is important that there is more funding on the issue of immigration, especially for the member states that are on the front line, the member states that face the most challenges.”

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