European Parliament President Josep Borrell says Turkey's EU accession negotiations imply recognition of Cyprus
Nicosia, Oct 6 -- Opening accession negotiations with Turkey implies that Turkey recognises the Republic of Cyprus, even if that recognition is not yet official, European Parliament President Josep Borrell stressed on Tuesday.
Mr. Borrell noted that the recognition of Cyprus is a necessary component of the accession process, adding that the solution of the Cyprus problem must be based on respect for the acquis communautaire and on the Union's founding values and principles.
The European Parliament President was addressing the Cyprus House of Representatives on the occasion of his official visit, in the presence of Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias, Cypriot EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Marcos Kyprianou, as well as members of the cabinet and diplomats.
In his address, Christofias said that the government expects a full and non-discriminatory implementation of the Customs Union Protocol, adding that it is unacceptable that EU principles are changed to serve candidate countries and their interests.
He added that Cyprus has shown every good will for Turkey's EU course, since it believes that the accession of a democratic Turkey to the Union would contribute to the consolidation of peace and stability in the area, provided that Turkey respects and fulfills the political criteria and the EU principles.
Mr. Borrell referred to President Papadopoulos' constructive stance, ''who, rather than using the veto at the European Council of December 2004 or at the effective opening of negotiations with Turkey, has preferred the approach of consensus and, therefore, of European integration.''
''Yesterday the EU opened accession negotiations for the future accession of Turkey. This implies, in the opinion of the European Parliament, the recognition by Turkey of the Republic of Cyprus, even if that recognition is not yet official. I myself have said as much before the Grand Assembly of Turkey. This view is shared by the Council of Ministers of the EU,'' he said.
Referring to efforts to solve the Cyprus issue, he said that the EU is ''fully aware that the division of Cyprus has to be resolved within the framework of the UN, in agreement with the two communities,'' reassuring that ''the EU has made a firm commitment to finding a satisfactory solution for all sides.''
Mr. Borrell said that the division of Cyprus is ''an open sore for Europe, a wound which we all need to strive valiantly to heal as soon and as fully as possible,'' adding that ''the division is not acceptable, it is anachronistic.''
He expressed his disappointment for the rejection of the plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan by the Greek Cypriots, noting though that the will of the people must be respected.
Regarding efforts to solve the Cyprus issue, he said that the ''we made superhuman efforts to find a workable and viable solution so that Cyprus may accede to Europe as a united country.''
''However, the stifling pressure exercised and the disregard of the concerns of the Greek Cypriot community led, despite our warning to this effect to the international factors, to the rejection of the one sided and unjust plan, which was put to a referendum on April 24, one week before Cyprus' accession to the EU,'' he added.
In the meantime, speaking at a press conference on Thursday as he wrapped up his contacts in Cyprus, Borrell said he noticed ''a great mistrust'' which exists between both communities noting that nothing can be achieved if this problem is not overcome.
''We have to break this vicious circle of mistrust and the only way to do that is through dialogue that we have learned in Europe over many years, common dialogue to overcome such a mistrust'', he said.
In regards to his visit to the Green Line, he thanked ''the UN personnel that made it possible and which is doing a good job here'' adding that he also visited Varosha, ''which is a shocking and striking example of the tragic lessons to be drawn from the history of this island''.
Concluding he said the most difficult walls are not those made by stone but those made of bias and prejudice. ''This is a very dangerous wall. We have to avoid at all cost the creation of this psychological wall between the two communities and we have to do that by breaking down this wall, by contacts between the communities and also by contacts between politicians of both communities'', he said.
Borell also discussed with the politicians of the Republic of Cyprus European topics and problems since Cyprus is a full member state, adding that the Cypriot MEPs are very active in dealing and discussing European problems and topics and expressed the wish the Cypriot parliament is as active as they are ''reflecting, discussing, debating those specific European problems that affect our future''.
Asked to comment on the non - recognition of the Cyprus Republic by Turkey, he said Europe has demanded from Turkey when they signed the Protocol on the customs union that it would apply to all new member states including Cyprus adding that Ankara must comply with all the obligations contained therein. ''They will do that hopefully in due course'', he said.
Responding to a remark that the ''T/C were punished'' even though they voted in favor of the Annan Plan whereas the G/C were ''rewarded'' with the EU membership, Borrell said: ''Let us not abuse language. The Greek Cypriots were not rewarded by membership to the European Union lets make that clear. Let us not distort speech when we are talking about those topics''. He also stressed that solution was never a precondition for accession.
He reiterated the European Parliament's support to the Annan Plan before and after the referendum, noting that ''we still believe that it is the only basis for a good solution of the problem of Cyprus''.
He clarified that the European parliament fully respects the decision taken by the Greek Cypriots and expressed the belief that talks should resume as soon as possible under the auspices of the UN and that the ''isolation'' of the Turkish Cypriot community only creates more obstacles.
Asked what should be the role of the EU, Borrell said: ''do not expect any kind of magical solution as if the European Union had a magical hand to pull out of the hat a white rabbit''.
He said the solution must be found within the framework of the UN and that Europe will be present throughout the process, follow the process and help ''but we are not thinking to exchange the UN framework for a European framework''.
Asked if the European Parliament would accept a solution out of the acquis communautaire he said ''of course not, nothing that happens in Europe can be out of the acquis communautaire, and any solution should respect it''.