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April 9 very crucial for all Europeans, Van der Meer says
2003-04-09 14:56:48

Nicosia, Apr 9 (CNA) - Head of the European Commission delegation in Cyprus Andriaan Van der Meer said today that April 9, 2003, is a ''very crucial date for all Europeans'' due to the enlargement of the Union and noted ''we are just a few days away from April 16'', when the ten acceding countries will be signing the Accession Treaty with the EU.

Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Board of Trustees of Ihsan Ali Foundation, Van der Meer said that after April 16, ''we will be speaking not about acceding or candidate countries but new members'', and pledged to use more electronic means to communicate information about the EU to the Turkish Cypriot side, in order to enhance awareness regarding the benefits of EU membership.|

The European official said ''Cyprus did high quality work'' during the accession negotiations and passed a large number of laws in the harmonisation process with the acquis communautaire.

He said there were still ''important things to do'', especially in the field of professional freedom, and expressed hope that Cyprus would keep up the good work.

Van der Meer said that after May 1, 2004, ''Cyprus will be our external border'' and urged the government ''to strengthen the external borders'' to prevent drug and illegal immigrant trafficking.

He said that by enlargement, the EU of ''25'' would have an extra 30% people and 23% territory. ''Our economic weight will also increase'', he said, noting that this should be reflected in the Union's foreign policy.

The European official expressed certainty that when the crisis in Iraq is over ''we will come together to improve our foreign policy''.

He also pledged to use more electronic means to communicate information about the EU to the Turkish Cypriot side, in order to enhance awareness regarding the benefits of membership.

Introducing Van der Meer, President of Ihsan Ali Foundation, Turkish Cypriot academic Ozdemir Ozgur, who lives in the government-controlled areas of the Republic, said the Cyprus problem and its solution are of great concern to the Foundation, which has expressed its deep regret over the collapse of the peace talks in The Hague.

He noted that the meeting in The Hague ended in failure due to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's stance.

CNA/RG/MM/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
09/04/2003

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