Nicosia, July 17, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Kyriacos Kyriacou
European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has pledged to return to Cyprus after reunification and urged everyone to forget the past and support the leaders.
Addressing a special session of the House of Representatives, President Juncker said the two leaders are on the right track as he has ascertained from his meetings on Thursday with President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
He said he believes the two leaders can solve the Cyprus problem, although it will not be easy. It will be very difficult and compromises and concessions will be needed to reach a settlement to allow Cyprus to reach its full potential in the EU, he noted.
He also said that Cyprus will not walk alone after reunification, adding that the EU will be at Cyprus` side. The benefits of a solution, he said, will be huge.
Addressing the members of the House of Representatives, he urged them to support the two leaders and “put aside all kinds of political egos and help the future, you are elected members of the Cyprus democracy”.
“Today you are at a critical moment for Cyprus history. After years of negotiations with positive, and maybe negative talks, after years of too long discussions, the conditions for a settlement” are present, he remarked.
“For the EU and the whole of the international community this is a moment of great hope”, he said. Juncker reminded that not everyone was supportive of Cyprus becoming a member of the EU in 2004 but he has always backed the accession process.
Economic recovery visible
Juncker referred to the economic crisis in Cyprus, noting it has been going through economic adjustment programme in the past two years. “I want to pay tribute to these efforts, the commitment of your political leaders to implement the programme”, noting the results are visible.
The financial sector, he said, is stabilizing, “confidence is growing and the economy is doing better. Clearly challenges remain, but opportunities also are here”.
Deposit haircut a mistake!
Juncker said the first decision taken by the Eurogroup in 2013 was wrong and “when I am saying I am admiring Cypriots”, he means he admires all members of the society and does not ignore the high price that Cypriots were asked to pay during the 2013 haircut.
Referring to his proposals for investments, Juncker said he really hoped that Cyprus will be able to benefit from this initiative so that investments will take place. My plan, he added, is “to give a new push to investments and job creation”.
Addressing Juncker, House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou welcomed the Commission President’s announcement yesterday for a more active engagement of the European Union in the process of solving the Cyprus issue, through the appointment of his personal representative, to ensure the compatibility of the solution with European values and principles.
“The Cyprus issue, as a problem of invasion, occupation and violation of international law, is of course an international issue and should remain within the UN framework. It is, however, at the same time, a European problem, particularly so, following the accession of Cyprus to the EU. Therefore, the auxiliary involvement of the EU is indispensable, in order for the solution to be consistent with the grid of rules of law in force and as applied within the EU”, Omirou said.
He also said Cyprus does not object to the European perspective of its neighbouring country Turkey, on the understanding that Turkey will fully respect the acquis communautaire and European principles and values, fulfilling its obligations towards the Union and each and every member state. “It is the stance of Turkey that shall determine the course of accession negotiations and the opening of new negotiating chapters”, he remarked.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island`s northern third. UN-backed talks are currently underway with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.
A demonstration against austerity measures took place today outside the House of Representatives building in Nicosia where European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker was addressing the plenary.
The demonstration, which was organized by the 19 organisations of the platform “Society reacts and demands” began at the EU House in Nicosia and ended at the House of Representatives.
The demonstrators handed over a resolution to the Commission President in which they denounce `the unacceptable stance, the blackmails and the deadlines which the European institutions and the IMF impose with cynicism, as it was the case of Greece”.
The resolution notes that the economy and the society of Cyprus are also victims of austerity measures and that the economy is trapped in a vicious circle of recession and unemployment.
Speaking at the demonstration, General Secretary of PEO trade union, Pampis Kyritsis, said that there are 75,000 unemployed people in Cyprus, thousands of young people of the €500 generation, pensioners, and small and medium sized enterprises which are being destroyed.