Belgian Senate believes accession will boost Cyprus settlement
by Nicos Bellos
Belgium, Oct 28 (CNA) - The Belgian government and the European Union are convinced that Cyprus' accession to the EU will be a great boost for a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem, said here Tuesday Belgium's Foreign Minister Louis Michel as his country's Senate ratified with an overwhelming majority the EU Accession Treaty of the 10 acceding states.
Referring to Turkey's accession course, Michel said that the Belgian position is determined by the Copenhagen criteria for full adoption of the acquis communautaire by all candidate states.
Michel said that by the end of 2004 the EU would examine whether Turkey satisfies the Copenhagen criteria and whether the EU will proceed with a date to commence accession negotiations.
During the debate that was held before the voting, various references were made to Cyprus.
Senator Van Overmeire Karim said it seems that Turkey must make more efforts to observe its army and police, respect human rights, the Kurdish minority, decrease inflation and solve the Cyprus problem.
He said the EU expects Turkey to maintain a constructive approach regarding a solution to the Cyprus problem. On the 1st of May, he said, we will welcome Cyprus as an EU member state, and the fact that Turkey will be militarily occupying a part of a member state, is a deviation.
Roland Du Vivier, in his intervention stressed that Cyprus' accession to the EU will contribute in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
Referring to Turkey's candidacy, Vivier said that there is an issue which makes the country (Turkey) lose from its credibility, and that is the issue of Cyprus.
He quoted Enlargement Commissioner, Gunter Verheugen that in May, the EU will find itself in a state where a part of a member's territory is occupied by a candidate state.
Vivier said that there is still time until May 2004 for a solution and reminded that the key to a solution lies not with Nicosia but with Ankara, and expressed hope that the Belgian diplomacy will stress this to Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.