EU Commission to amend Green Line Regulation
Nicosia, Nov 2 (CNA) -- The European Commission considers to amend its ''Green Line'' regulation, so that the trade of citrus fruits and some animal products from the Turkish-occupied northern part, is allowed through the Cyprus government's controlled areas.
European Commission official Leopold Maurer said here today that the Commission would also propose a higher level of duty free cigarettes and alcohol for European travelers via the dividing line in Cyprus, the so-called Green Line.
Addressing a bicommunal conference in Nicosia entitled ''Facilitating commercial activity across the Green Line'', Maurer said that the opening of more crossing points via the Green Line, should be agreed upon by the two sides in Cyprus.
He reassured that the Commission would act immediately and adopt any necessary changes to facilitate trade.
Asked when the Commission would be able to establish any new measures, Maurer expressed the opinion that they could be adopted even before the end of this year.
The EUís specific rules for the movement of goods across the Green Line, entered into force 23 August 2004. Maurer said that during the first two months, some 100.000 euros have been traded over the line.
Referring to the animal products, the EU official said that a special Committee of the European Commission would decide as to which products would be included in the list for trade.
''It is not 100% sure that we would include fish and honey, we only provide the possibilities to include them, but it has to be discussed because it has to fulfill all the veterinary requirements in the field of animal products. We are very strict with our rules in those fields. We will foresee a special regime for animal products that are now excluded'', he said.
Regarding the trade of citrus fruits from the occupied areas, Maurer said that although they were initially excluded, they would now be included in the list of products.
''The harvest will start soon. Originally citrus fruits were not foreseen but it is underway that citrus fruits will be included and underway that we will authorise experts coming from member states who will provide the necessary certificates for citrus fruits. Once the harvest starts there will be the possibility to trade the citrus fruits'', he said.
Maurer also referred to a proposed amendment concerning the ceilings for travelers.
''At the moment for example it is only allowed to bring 20 cigarettes. We are proposing higher levels, such as 200 cigarettes, one liter of alcohol and a value of 175 euros of souvenirs which at the moment is only 30 euros. We have proposed now much higher ceilings which we have normally for example for other third countries'', he said.
Asked what would be the impact on the Green Line regulation when Turkey extends its Customs Union with the Republic of Cyprus, Maurer ''this would have no influence on the Green Line regulation as such, because the north will be outside the customs territory. It would only affect commerce between Turkey and the Cyprus government's controlled areas''.
Noting that the Turkish Cypriot chamber of commerce is concerned that the Turkish Cypriots would not benefit from the extension of the Customs Union, he said ''the Green Line regulation would have to be adopted to allow such trade of Turkish goods from the north to the south''.
Answering a question the EU official said that the Commission has not foreseen anything regarding exports of Turkish Cypriot goods to third countries.
''The Green Line regulation is a very complicated legal document. We try to bring together the two business communities and we hope that the Green Line regulation can be developed in a more positive way. There can not be a completely free movement of goods before the solution of the Cyprus problem'', Maurer said.
The Republic of Cyprus became a member of the EU in May 2004. According to the EU Accession Treaty, the implementation of the acquis communautaire has been suspended in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.