Monday marks exactly 20 years since the European Union’s Green Line regulation, which regulates the movement of people and goods between Cyprus’ two sides, was adopted.

The regulation was adopted in response to the failure of the Annan plan referendum five days earlier, which saw Cyprus poised to enter the EU while still divided.

The EU said on Monday that since the Green Line regulation was adopted, more than 64 million crossings have been made in both directions.

“Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots cross the Green Line for a variety of reasons,” they said, including shopping, visiting restaurants, visiting cultural monuments and visiting friends.

In addition, they said, businesses now trade across the Green Line and cross to meet their partners from the other community, while a number of Turkish Cypriots now work and study in the Republic.

“The Green Line [regulation] has been critical to ensure that both communities can freely enjoy their day-to-day lives and reap the many benefits that both communities have to offer.”

On the matter of trade, they pointed out that trade across the Green Line was worth €16 million in 2023, a “stark jump” from €6.2m in 2021.

They added that the €4m support scheme launched earlier this month will allow trade across the Green Line to be “maximised”, offering financial grants and technical assistance to Turkish Cypriot small and medium-sized businesses.

They also pointed to the creation of the EU One Stop Shop last year as another way in which the EU is supporting Cypriot businesses to trade across the Green Line.

The One Stop Shop, they said, is “designed to provide information, advice, and support to both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot producers and traders interested in trading across the Green Line.”

European Commissioner for cohesion and reforms Elisa Ferreira said the Green Line regulation “not only enables Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to benefit from what both communities have to offer, but also strengthens day-to-day contacts.”

These exchanges can prepare the ground for the reunification of Cyprus,” she said.

Tthe EU is committed to facilitating such a reunification, and I am pleased to note that the Green Line regulation has achieved so much in the 20 years since its implementation.”