Van der Meer says more active role for Commission in Cyprus
Nicosia, May 9 (CNA) - The European Commission remains ready to actively support all efforts towards a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem and to play a more active role in this respect, Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus Adriaan van der Meer says in a written statement on the occasion of the 55th Shuman Day celebrations.
''The Commission hopes that a compromise will allow the rapid adoption of its proposals on both the financial assistance and on special conditions for trade for the Turkish Cypriot community,'' he adds.
Referring to Cyprus' accession to the EU, he notes that the country has quickly found its place inside the enlarged European Union.
''A dynamic process of economic change has led to Cyprus recently joining the ERM II, an important step towards joining the Eurozone. I trust that Cyprus will join the other countries that have already ratified the Constitutional Treaty,'' van der Meer states.
Regarding the Constitutional Treaty, the EU official expresses conviction that Cyprus will ratify it.
He adds that the new Constitution would deliver visible benefits for citizens and improve the way European institutions work, since it simplifies decision-making procedures and more clearly defines who does what.
''The creation of a European Minister for Foreign Affairs will strengthen the EU's voice on the world scene. The Commission is looking forward to the rapid ratification of the Constitution by all member states. Six member states have already done so,'' van der Meer says in his statement.
Europe Day in Cyprus will be celebrated both in Nicosia on 13 May and in Limassol on 15 May.
Regarding future enlargements, the EU official says that preparations will continue in line with the road maps agreed for Bulgaria and Romania, whereas Croatia will start negotiations once it has complied with the conditions set out by the European Council.
About Turkey he says that the accession negotiations are scheduled to open on 3 October 2005 and adds that the Commission is making the necessary preparations, such as the establishment of a negotiation framework.
Referring to 2004, van der Meer notes that it was a turning point in the development of the EU, since it saw the largest enlargement of the Union to date.
''The single market provides economic benefits for all of its 450 million citizens. The Commission launched an ambitious growth and jobs strategy aimed at making the EU the most competitive economy in the world by 2010. The foundations were laid for a Constitution for Europe,'' he notes.
''Europe's festive day is 9 May. It is the annual occasion for the EU to celebrate its achievements and to reflect on its aims. It is Europe Day in celebration of the anniversary of the declaration by Robert Schuman of 9 May 1950. The message of Schuman was simple but fundamental. In short, it meant that the age-old conflicts and rivalries between European nation states were no longer tolerable,'' he concludes.