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European Commision issues report on Green Line Regulation
2005-07-15 11:57:26

Nicosia, Jul 15 (CNA) -- The European Commission expresses its concern regarding the illegal crossing of immigrants from the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus via the Green Line to the government controlled areas.

In its report on the implementation of the EU Council Green Line Regulation, that covers the period 1 May 2004 until 30 April 2005, the Commission notes that the Regulation has proven to be a stable legal frame for the daily crossing of thousands of Cypriots as well as for other EU citizens who can move freely within Cyprus.

''This strengthens the links between the two communities on the island and positively affects the development of tourism'', the report states.

About the volume and value of goods crossing the line, it notes that they remain limited. It is estimated that the real value of the products that crossed the line is 818,133 Euros, and adds that there was no trade between the northern part of Cyprus and other EU Member States via the Green Line.

The Commission considers that a swift opening of the two new crossing points would have a positive effect on trade development and would contribute to a further integration of the island.

For the time being the Commission does not envisage further proposals for amendments to the Green Line Regulation.

Illegal immigration across the Line causes concern, the report says, adding that at least 50% of the asylum seekers illegally crossed the line.

''With the implementing measures taken during the course of the reporting period, the regime under Article 2 of Protocol 10 to the Act of Accession is fully operational'', the report adds.

Crossing of Persons
The report emphasises the fact that despite the checks carried out by the Republic of Cyprus on persons crossing the Line, ''it becomes more and more obvious that a systematic illegal route through the northern part to the government-controlled areas exists''.

''Hence, the line cannot be regarded over the whole length as being under effective surveillance. In some areas it is possible to cross the line without any controls''.

The Commission expresses its concern about the illegal immigration of thousands of third-country nationals across the Line and adds that many of them have requested asylum in the Republic of Cyprus, which has led to a significant increase of asylum applications.

''Illegal immigration across the line causes concern'', the report says, adding that at least 50% of the asylum seekers illegally crossed the Line.

Despite the illegal immigration problems, the report considers that the crossing of persons is running smoothly.

''Thousands of Cypriots from either side cross the Line daily. There is free movement of EU citizens irrespective of their point of entry into Cyprus. No incidents have been reported'', the report says.

Crossing of Goods
The volume and value of goods crossing the line remain limited, according to the Commission's report.

It is said that although the total value of the goods, for which documents were issued, amounts to 1,000,617 Euros, not all documents were used in the reporting period due to the fact that transactions were cancelled or deliveries were postponed.

Hence, the value of goods that actually crossed the line amounts to 818,133 Euros according to the reports of the Republic of Cyprus, i.e. in average about EUR 99,000 per month. Most traded goods are vegetables, stone products, paper goods, and furniture.

The report notes that there was no crossing of any goods the final destination of which was not the Republic of Cyprus, in other words there was no trade between the northern part of Cyprus and other EU Member States via the line.

According to the report, many obstacles for trade across the line continue to exist.

''Turkish Cypriot commercial vehicles such as buses, lorries, taxis, minibuses and rented cars cannot circulate freely across the island. The Republic of Cyprus does not accept roadworthiness certificates of commercial vehicles and professional driving licences issued by Turkish Cypriot authorities'', it is said.

The Commission states that trade between the northern part of Cyprus and the EU through the government-controlled areas does not take place for various reasons, e.g. the necessity to register a company in the government-controlled areas (inter alia for the purposes of import VAT payment) and transportation problems (since trucks cannot cross and driving licences are not accepted).

Further trade facilitation
Commission decisions concerning provisions for citrus as well as honey, fresh fish, and ostriches crossing the line are under preparation.

To the knowledge of the Commission, services had not been supplied across the line during the period under report.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

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