President: "Cyprus has worked hard towards harmonisation with acquis"
Nicosia, Nov 2 - Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said on Thursday that the Republic of Cyprus has worked very hard and methodically to harmonise its institutional framework with the acquis communautaire, a process which has reformed the Cypriot lawful order.
Addressing the opening of the 22nd World Congress of the International Federation for European Law (FIDE), taking place in Limassol, President Papadopoulos said ''justice and the respect of human rights is cohesive, universal and united.''
''We are especially proud of the state of law that we have in our country and the absolute independence of the judicial authority, which safeguards, abides by and implements the Cypriot law and now the European law,'' the President said, adding that Cyprus ''has worked very hard and methodically to harmonise its institutional framework with the acquis communautaire.''
He pointed out that ''over 1,400 laws, regulations and orders have been enacted or amended, in the framework of the accession course and after our accession to the European Union.''
President Papadopoulos pointed out that the cooperation of EU member states to achieve the goal of an area of true freedom, security and justice is facing great challenges.
''Thorny issues, such as organised crime and terrorism, bring the member states, on the level of political decisions, and national suppressive forces, on an operational level, before the necessity to balance two goods, those of the effective protection and safety of the open society on the one hand, and the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the other hand,'' he said.
President Papadopoulos noted that the problem of mass illegal immigration is an especially acute problem, which appears mainly in the Mediterranean. ''It is a problem, the tackling of which demands a comprehensive plan, cooperation with third countries of origin and passage, European support and solidarity, as well as courageous decisions,'' he concluded.
Welcoming the delegates, Secretary General of FIDE Annie Pantazi Lambrou said the three-day Congress is attended by over 300 delegates from 27 countries.
She said the topics to be discussed in the three workshops were selected in cooperation with all the national associations affiliated with FIDE.
Lambrou noted that the Cypriot presidency of FIDE and the affiliates have chosen experts to present the themes, while the works of the three workshops will be carried out based on proposals that have been submitted by the speakers and which cover national law and community law, and the concerns arising from the development of both and the relation between them.
In his address, President of FIDE and President of the Cypriot Association of European Law Xenios Xenopoulos said Cyprus, an EU member state, faithful to European values, is struggling for vindication and the restoration of fundamental human rights and values, adding that ''Cyprus continues to suffer a continuous tragedy as a result of the illegal Turkish invasion and occupation.''
''Cyprus is struggling with sincerity, realism and dignity for a just, lasting and mainly viable solution of our problem, which will safeguard the true geographical, financial and social reunification of our island,'' he said, adding that ''we are looking to our European partners for support in our struggle.''
Xenopoulos said the hosting of the Congress is ''a special honour for Cyprus, since it is the first country among the ten that joined the EU in May 2004, which was assigned the organising of this international congress.''
Cypriot Minister of Justice and Public Order Sophocles Sophocleous said the harmonisation work and the promotion of EU policies and strategies in Cyprus, through various initiatives and programmes, is continuous, noting that ''despite the small size of our country, we have the potential to and we jointly manage with our partners the future of our common goal and that of our children.''
He said his Ministry had its own share in the work of incorporating the acquis in the Cypriot lawful order, carrying out a task that had to do, not only with the sectors concerning justice and home affairs, but also vital issues of other chapters.
Sophocleous referred to the importance of informing the citizens on the added value provided by the existence and action of the EU, especially in matters such as the fiscal and social growth of Europe, foreign policy and its role in the world, as well as sectors concerning everyday life, such as health, food safety, consumer protection and the single currency.
The Minister noted that ''information and the sense that everything that happens is the personal affair of each and every one of us contributes towards the more active involvement of the citizens in forming the policies that affect their everyday life, and facilitates the cultivation of a European conscience, which is a component of European integration.''
President of Cyprus' Supreme Court Christos Artemides said ''at such meetings the largest gain for the delegates is their acquaintance, which leads to mutual understanding and appreciation, virtues which are the basis for the warm and sincere relations among people with the hope that they will have the relative bearing on their countries.'' Attorney General Petros Clerides referred to the Cypriot presidency of FIDE, saying that this ''states the readiness of Cyprus and especially its juridical people, to join the European lawful order and not only accept its impacts on the national legal system but also to contribute towards its formation and development.''
''At the same time, the assignment of the FIDE presidency to a member state just a month after its accession to the EU shows the trust and cooperation between the member states, on which the functioning of the Union is based,'' he added.
President of the Court of Justice of the European Communities Vassilios Skouris said the Congress is probably the most important academic event in the sector of European law, noting that it provides a unique opportunity to bring together a large number of attorneys from various countries, and that is why ''it is an irreplaceable source of inspiration.''
He added that the structure of the Congress, with the presentation of international and European reports on every topic, has been correctly conceived and always gives the opportunity for lively and in depth discussions, noting that the issues to be discussed over the next three days will be especially interesting and have been chosen well.