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Flag of EU hoisted at University of Cyprus
2003-01-30 13:15:20

Nicosia, Jan 30 (CNA) ? The flag of the European Union was hoisted here Thursday at the University of Cyprus premises during a ceremony in the presence of the head of the European Commission, Adrian Van der Meer.

The Commission diplomat pledged the Copenhagen decision that Cyprus will become a member on the 1st of May 2004, is irreversible.

"It is quite clear that we are standing now before the last hurdles", regarding Cyprus's accession to the EU, van der Meer said.

Membership of the EU means that new expertise will become available for Cyprus to further develop to modernise the programme the country and in particular this centre of excellence here on the island.|

On the other hand Cyprus has a lot to offer to the EU, serving as a bridge between the EU and the Middle East, he said, "noting this is a very important asset on which further research and development can take place".

Van der Meer said he has read a number of confusing press reports about the Cyprus accession process and its accession prospects.

"I would like to confirm here and now that what was decided at Copenhagen, namely that Cyprus will become a member be the 1st of May 2004, is irreversible, I would like to repeat, this is irreversible. Cyprus will become a member on the 1st of May 2004," he stressed.

He said his colleagues in Brussels are finalising the Accession Treaty, "a very important document of 4000 pages". The debate on that treaty already began in the European Parliament and will be finalised on the 9 April, he said.

Van der Meer said he was confident that each country would vote, as part of normal democratic procedures the countries to become members, adding, "I am absolutely confident it will again confirm the accession of Cyprus."

Asked whether the European Parliament can raise hurdles in the Cyprus, Van der Meer said the Commission is not commenting on positions taken at the EP.

"But as I said before in the past, now and in the future the EP has been a staunch supporter of Cyprus' accession to the EU and this believe me, this will be confirmed on the 9th of April when they take the vote."

In statements, Rector of the University of Cyprus, Stavros Zenios said the unanimous decision of the Council to hoist the flag "shows that our society is ready to establish the European family". "Our gesture today is a clear indication on our part, an assurance that we can respond to the complexities of the times," he added.

CNA/GSA/EC/ΚΝ/2003

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