Cyprus could be very important to the future of Europe and its external relations, Antonio Tajani says

Cyprus could be very important to the future of Europe and its external relations, Antonio Tajani says

The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, had a meeting today with the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, who is on an official visit to Cyprus.

Tajani was welcomed in the morning by the President of the Republic and then submitted a wreath to the statue of Ethnarch Makarios III. Following that, the two Presidents had a private meeting, while the two delegations held extensive talks. Subsequently, President Anastasiades and Antonio Tajani made statements to the media.

In his statements, President Anastasiades said that “it is with great pleasure that I welcome today in Cyprus the friend of the President of the European Parliament, Mr Antonio Tajani, with whom both Cyprus and I personally are connected by ties of deep and sincere friendship for two decades.

President Tajani’s official visit to Cyprus confirms the excellent level of relations between Cyprus and the European Parliament, the structured and creative dialogue we have established with the President in the whole range of important issues discussed in the European Parliament.

Cyprus is a strong supporter of the key institutional role played by the European Parliament, particularly in the current critical moment for the Union, where our main concern is to bring about the necessary changes so that the Union comes closer to its citizens and responds effectively to the concerns of European citizens.

In this context, we have discussed with the friend President the latest developments in the debate on the Future of Europe, as well as the discussions on the issue of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

With regard to the ongoing debate on the Future of Europe, we have redefined our belief in a single Europe based on the fundamental principles and values ​​of democracy and solidarity, as well as our strong belief that the Union continues to play an important role in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity for all European citizens.

I reaffirmed that Cyprus will continue to participate actively in the relevant processes, sharing the objectives set and expressed our readiness to engage constructively in the expected debate in the plenary of the European Parliament, on the initiative of President Tajani.

Regarding the issue of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, we welcomed the morning agreement between the European Union and the UK in the three priority areas of the first phase of the negotiations.

With President Tajani, we had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister May and Mr Michel Barnier, the EU negotiator, who informed us of today’s pleasing developments. The Republic of Cyprus looks forward to a stronger future EU relationship with the United Kingdom.

As expected, we exchanged views and have had the opportunity to reiterate the positions of the Republic of Cyprus on a range of issues related to EU-Turkey relations.

There is a common approach to the need to respect the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the need for Turkey to meet its obligations towards all the Member States of the Union, including the Republic of Cyprus.

I reiterated our longstanding position in favour of Turkey’s accession course as a means of democratizing the country. I stressed, however, that what is expected of Turkey is to meet is its accession obligations towards the European Union and all the Member States.

At the same time, I briefed President Tajani on Turkey’s recent actions in relation to hindering humanitarian aid to the enclaved, in violation of the Third Vienna Agreement and the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.

Within this framework, discussions and the adoption by the European Parliament of the relevant resolutions on Turkey’s Progress Report should send a clear message regarding Turkey’s obligation to respond to all the Member States of the Union in order to overcome the problems that arise.

I also had the opportunity to inform President Tajani about the events that took place at the recent Cyprus Conference on Crans Montana and the reasons that led to an incomplete end to the whole endeavor.

At the same time, I expressed my appreciation and warm thanks to President Tajani, both for his and the European Parliament’s support in the aim of the reunification of the Republic of Cyprus, and I underlined my readiness to continue the dialogue as a matter of urgency, but also for the need for a new Cyprus Conference to be prepared properly so that there are real prospects for a positive outcome.

Finally, I informed the friend President about the active role of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean and the initiatives we are developing in the region to promote cooperation, peace and stability.

I underlined that these regional co-operations contribute, among other things, to the European Union’s efforts to safeguard Europe’s energy security, fight terrorism and cooperation between the European Union and the countries of the eastern Mediterranean.

Friend President, looking forward to continuing the cooperation and constructive dialogue that we have established for years, but also between Cyprus and the European Parliament, I would like to welcome you once again to Cyprus, wishing you enjoy the warm hospitality of our island”.

For his part, Tajani, speaking through an interpreter, said, inter alia, that the meeting with the President was “really very special. We have come to the very essence of very important issues. We talked extensively about Brexit”, Tajani said, noting that “Ms. May informed them today about the recent positive developments that will lead to a treaty that should be based on the Treaties. Already there was an agreement between the negotiators and this could be a good basis for the three issues, for the border with Northern Ireland, for citizens’ rights and for financial matters.

The European Parliament will give its opinion next week by adopting a resolution to be presented at the European Council meeting and then the Heads of State and Government will decide whether the progress achieved is satisfactory and start the Phase II process. I’m pretty optimistic”.

He added that with President Anastasiades they also discussed the Future of Europe and underlined the role of southern EU countries in fostering peace in the Mediterranean.

“Cyprus has a special role to play since it has a special sensitivity. We underlined how important Cyprus could be to the future of Europe and its external relations”, Tajani said, thanking President Anastasiades “for his efforts over the years to reduce unemployment and for economic growth. Indeed, the figures are very positive here in Cyprus, not only for itself but also for the EU”.

He pointed out that many countries were hit by the crisis, but “things seem to go better in Cyprus, with tangible results, especially with regard to young people”.

He also said that later today he will meet and discuss with students.

Referring to the Cyprus issue, Tajani once again stressed the view of the European Parliament to President Anastasiades and added that “we support and have always supported” the negotiations “following the UN parameters. We are convinced that with your own determination, the reunification of Cyprus will be a tangible reality. The island could become an independent and dominant country as a whole. The European Parliament supports Cyprus in order to put an end to military occupation on the part of Turkey”.

He added that on 6 June 2017 this view was recorded in a document approved by the European Parliament. “We are committed to supporting all the necessary processes to achieve a positive solution”, he noted.

At another point in his statements, Tajani stressed that “we expect President Anastasiades to come to the plenary and tell us what the point of view of a major country, such as Cyprus, is for the future of the EU”.

The president of the European Parliament also said that “European culture is the cradle of civilization, which is why, a few weeks ago, I was defending the privileges of the policy with regard to the European Central Bank. Non-performing loans must be decided by the legislator”.

Finally, Tajani referred to the excellent cooperation and friendship of Cyprus with the European Parliament, expressing the conviction that this cooperation will continue in the years to come./IBNA