The Government of the Republic of Cyprus concluded an Association Agreement with the EEC on 19 December 1972, which entered into force on 1 June 1973. The full implementation of this two-stage Agreement was to lead to a Customs Union within a period of 10 years. The purpose of the Agreement, which contained arrangements on trade, financial and technical cooperation that were to be applied for the benefit of the entire population of the island, was to consolidate and expand trade and the economic relations between Cyprus and the European Community.
On 4 July 1990 the Republic of Cyprus submitted an application for membership to the then EEC. After an extensive examination of the application, the European Commission issued its Opinion (Avis) on Cyprus application on 30 June 1993, which recognized the islands European identity and character, as well as its vocation to belong to the EEC. The Commissions Opinion also confirmed that Cyprus satisfies the criteria for membership and is suitable to become a member of the EEC.
Since 1977, Cyprus and the European Economic Community, have signed four protocols on financial and technical co-operation providing for a financial aid of a total amount of 210 million ECU: This aid includes loans, grants, special loans and contributions to risk capital formation.
The European Union and, prior to it the European Community, has displayed considerable sensitivity and interest with respect to the Cyprus problem.