Cyprus celebrates Europe Day
Nicosia, May 9 (CNA) - Events were held today in Nicosia to celebrate Europe Day. President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos inaugurated an event at the Hilton, under the title ''Cyprus and the new EU'', organised by the European Commission delegation in Nicosia and the European Institute of Cyprus
Furthermore, House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias welcomed students from the religious groups on the island to the parliament, while the University of Cyprus organised a gathering under the title ''The Contribution of Youth to the Public Dialogue on the Future of Europe''.
The event organised by the European Commission delegation and the European Institute is considered to be the largest ever organised in Cyprus with the EU as its theme.|
Apart from President Papadopoulos, the inaugurating ceremony was attended by the political leadership of the island and ambassadors of EU countries, and Head of the European Commission delegation in Nicosia Adriaan Van der Meer.
The celebrations include exhibitions, lectures, competitions and a cultural programme. Later today, a debate will be held with the participation of Christofias, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides, Cyprus' Chief Negotiator with the EU Takis Hadjidemetriou, Turkish Cypriot politician Mehmet Ali Talat, professor Niazi Kizilyurek, and Panayiotis Pantelides on behalf of the European Institute.
At the House of Representatives, Christofias welcomed a group of students from the Roman Catholic, Maronite and Armenian religious groups on the island and called on them to become active citizens and contribute in their own ways so that in the year 2004 Turkish Cypriot children would be among them.
The students drew pictures during a ''Drawing for Europe'' event, organised by the parliament's European Affairs Service.
Christofias said ''today the Europeans are celebrating because they are going to unite a continent'', adding that part of Cyprus is under Turkish occupation and ''since the Europeans are uniting a continent they must help us unite our homeland''.
Van der Meer, who also attended the University of Cyprus gathering, said the youth of Cyprus must find ways and means to become more involved in the European family and play a role in the EU's future.
Speaking at the event, Director General of the European Commission Education and Culture Directorate Nikolaus Van der Pas urged the youth to utilise all programmes and many opportunities available to Cypriots with their country's accession to the EU, in the sectors of education and culture.
University of Cyprus Dean Stavros Zenios said the young people are called upon today to take the vision for the future of Europe, set over 50 years ago, and to take it into the 21st century.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY