I do not know how we would have dealt with the crisis in the EEZ without the EU, the Foreign Minister says

I do not know how we would have dealt with the crisis in the EEZ without the EU, the Foreign Minister says

By Michalis Michael

“Historic milestone” is how Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides described Cyprus’ accession to the European Union in 2004, saying at the same time that he can’t imagine how the current crisis with Turkey in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone could have been overcome without the help of EU.

The Cypriot Foreign Minister said that we celebrate Europe Day, “the most important development in European history and without any exaggeration of one of the most important developments in world history”. He continued, saying that the Republic of Cyprus was happy, through a proactive policy and collective effort, to be a member of this large family since 2004. “I consider this the most important development, a turning point in the history of the Republic of Cyprus since 1960 and its establishment”.

He also wondered how the Republic of Cyprus would have been able to face its many challenges of the past years without the help of the EU. “I can not think for example how we could have faced the crisis in 2013 without the EU, I can not think how we could face the crisis we have today with Turkey within our exclusive economic zone without the help of the EU, our partners in the EU”, he said. He then referred to a series of important challenges the large European family is faced with, such as Brexit, the immigration crisis, climate change and the threats on the Union’s external borders. He also said that today an important and essential Informal Meeting is taking place in Romania that, he said, should lay the foundations for defining a clear future for the EU, a future that will respond to all these provocations.

Nicosia’s position is that all these provocations provide a first-rate opportunity to determine the future we want, he said, adding that “the Republic of Cyprus will be present in the negotiations for more Europe, for more integration within the EU”. He then referred to the decision to set up the Permanent Secretariat for European Affairs “so that we strengthen horizontal coordination, be more effective, more active within the EU and at the same time have a say and a role in these crucial moments that will determine the future of the EU”.

In the next 24 hours we are expecting developments in the implementation of the energy planning.

As regards the steps being taken to address Turkey’s provocation, diplomatic sources refer to the Conclusions of March 2018, to the common position of the 28 Member States in the EU Association Council and to the immediate reactions at international level. As for arrest warrants in relation to Turkey’s activity, sources say that “we are in the final stage to issue the first arrest warrants. From then on, it is a matter of justice”, but they avoid taking a position on what justice will do.

Soon, however, it is expected that the first arrest warrants will be issued.

A positive sign is the EU’s support, with sources expressing the belief that there will be more support at an institutional level, from the institutions of the EU, and from Member States.

“We are particularly in touch with neighbouring states that are interested in developments and are watching very carefully, as well as with those countries that have a particular interest in energy developments in the Eastern Mediterranean”, sources say.

As for what happened in France at the meeting of Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides with his French counterpart, as well as with representatives of the French TOTAL regarding all these issues, diplomats say that for the next 24 hours we will have to wait for announcements and developments in relation to the continuation and implementation of the energy planning./ibna