The President of the European Council Charles Michel, who is on an official visit to Cyprus, was received by the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday.
The meeting took place ahead of the crucial special session of the House on 24 September, which will focus on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and EU – Turkey relations.
Speaking to reporters after a one-on-one meeting with the President of the European Council, President Anastasiades referred to the renewed Turkish NAVTEX which is extending the illegal activities of “Yavuz” in the Cypriot EEZ.
Addressing Charles Michel, the President of the Republic stressed that his presence in Cyprus demonstrates the EU’s concern about the problems in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also its determination to resolve these issues.
As the President explained, he informed Charles Michel about what was happening and they exchanged views on the efforts to put an end to Turkey’s illegal activities. The discussion, he said, focused on the recent decisions of the Summit and the MED7. “We agreed that the EU must make a decisive contribution to the consolidation of peace, while adhering to international law and the sovereignty of the states in the region”, he said.
At the same time, he said, the European Council will have the opportunity for a strategic discussion that will cover the range of the EU’s relations with Turkey. The President explained that as long as there are illegal actions against Member States, the European Union must be clear.
Anastasiades informed the President of the European Council about the illegal plans in the enclosed city of Famagusta and called on him to help prevent them. He reiterated Nicosia’s readiness for a well-structured dialogue, without blackmail and threats. He stressed the need for everyone to work for the resumption of talks on the Cyprus issue, based on EU rules and the European acquis. “Only a solution and reunification will ensure peace and prosperity”, he said.
In today’s talks, the President said, the Immigration and what Cyprus has to face, in relation to the flows directed by Turkey, were also discussed. He told President Michel that the percentage of asylum seekers was 3.8% of the population of the free zones of the Republic of Cyprus, denouncing Turkey’s attempt at demographic change.
“At the same time, the EU is being blackmailed by Turkey, through the instrumentalization of migrants”, he said. “We agreed with our friend President Charles that the effective tackling of the immigration issue should be based on solidarity and a fair distribution”, he said.
For his part, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, thanked President Anastasiades for the hospitality and expressed great joy for the relationship of trust between them.
Charles Michel referred in general to the European agenda and to what the European Union stands for, which must provide answers on the basis of international law.
Specifically, speaking about the worrying developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Charles Michel explained that this is a European issue and not only of Greece and Cyprus. “We must be absolute in respecting the rights of all EU countries”, he said.
As he said, only through dialogue can progress be made on de-escalation and stability, alluding to the European Council meeting on 24 September.
“We talked”, as he said, “about the Immigration issue” noting that before Cyprus he visited Lesvos. “We have to support all member states, including those on the front lines”, he stressed.
Charles Michel also stressed that EU leaders must work to make progress in the UN process, obviously referring to the Cyprus issue and efforts to resolve it.
“I want to convey a message from Europe that will be clear and allow us to show our solidarity”, he said.
It is noted that after the one-on-one meeting between Anastasiades and Michel, extended talks took place with the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicos Christodoulides./ibna