Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides participated this afternoon in a teleconference of the Ministers in charge of European Affairs of the EU Member States (MED7), which took place on the initiative of France.
The teleconference was attended by the relevant Ministers from France, Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Malta and Portugal as a follow-up of previous MED7 Summits.
Topics discussed included the European Recovery Plan and the Multiannual Financial Framework, coordination for overcoming the crisis caused by the pandemic, the debate on the future of Europe, immigration, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, issues related to the Southern Neighborhood, as well as negotiations on relations with the United Kingdom in the future.
In the light of the current situation due to the pandemic, the relevant Ministers discussed at length the strategy for overcoming the crisis, including the aspects related to Tourism, stressing the need for an ambitious plan for EU recovery based on solidarity. In this context, they welcomed the relevant proposal of the European Commission, while special mention was made of the Franco-German proposal concerning the Recovery Fund. The Multiannual Financial Framework and other issues of European interest, such as the Climate and Digital Agenda, were also discussed. The relevant MED7 European Affairs Ministers also contemplated about the migration issue, which continues to be one of the Union’s biggest challenges. During the discussion, the need for Turkey to fully implement the EU Reciprocity Agreement of 2014 was emphasized and, on the basis of its obligations under the EU-Turkey Joint Declaration of 2016, to end practices for the promotion of migration flows to Cyprus and Greece, which complicate the problem and cause further destabilization within the EU, but also in the wider region.
Regarding the worrying developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the relevant Ministers reiterated their commitment to the conclusions of the European Council in December 2019 and to the announcement of the EU Foreign Ministers last May. The Joint Statement issued at the end of the Summit reaffirms the solidarity of the participating States with Cyprus and Greece and urges all countries in the region to respect international law, including the Law of the Sea, and in particular THE sovereignty and sovereign rights of all EU Member States. The Joint Statement also underlines that peace, stability and prosperity in the Mediterranean region are fundamental to the future and interests of the EU as a whole.
During the discussion, the participating Ministers underlined the strategic importance of the Southern Neighborhood for Europe. They also stressed the need for the EU to stand by these countries and substantially strengthen their efforts to overcome the challenges they face, which have been exacerbated by the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. At the same time, they called for a positive renewal of the policy regarding the region, expecting a new Ministerial Summit between the EU and the countries of the Southern Neighborhood, when conditions allow.
Finally, the commitment to further deepen co-operation in the light of the forthcoming European Council and the MED-7 Summit and the need to draw lessons from the unprecedented crisis caused by the pandemic was expressed. /ibna