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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-07

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] EU - Human Rights
  • [02] Christodoulou - IMF - World Bank

  • 1140:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] EU - Human Rights

    Nicosia, Oct 5 (CNA) -- A prominent academic dealing with human rights issues within the European Union believes there are many "inconsistencies" between the Union's economic power and its foreign power and points to the need for consistency in the way human rights are dealt with at home (EU) and abroad.

    Anrdrew Clapham, Associate professor of Public International Law, also thinks the EU applies double standards in its dealings with non-member states.

    "Coherence and consistency will lead to a more effective policy. The EU treats some countries with a softly-softly approach and tramples on others, " Clapham told a one-day seminar in Nicosia, on Human Rights and the European Union, organised by the International Association for the Protection of Human Rights in Cyprus and the Directorate of Human Rights of the Council of Europe.

    Professor Clapham said the EU often makes quiet and confidential demarches about human rights violations, a policy which invariably brings results.

    He pointed to the need for more cooperation between the different pillars of the EU and between its bodies (Commission, Council of Ministers) and noted the lack of international monitoring of the EU.

    "The EU is not subject to international scrutiny on human rights," Clapham said, and referred to "muted criticism" of human rights in the EU statement on human rights presented to the UN General Assembly.

    He attributed this to the imperatives for the EU to "speak collectively."

    Clapham noted the absence of an EU resolution on human rights in China at the UN Commission for Human Rights earlier this year and said wishes of individual EU states to criticise such matters are diluted into a joint Euro statement because the EU has to be dealt with as a block.

    His comments were echoed by professor Silvio Marcus-Helmons, of the Catholic University of Louvain, in Belgium, who said that criticism of human rights violations in China is counterbalanced by trade considerations on the part of the EU.

    Clapham said these inconsistencies can be settled through the appointment of a special commissioner for human rights, the creation of a new department on human rights and the compilation of a report of human rights.

    Such a report, he explained, would present the European vision of human rights in various states as opposed to the American vision (in the US annual report) and would include monitoring of human rights, including social and cultural rights, in the US itself and the EU.

    "The EU would get enormous leverage on countries for which reports will be written and these should not necessarily be published," the British professor added.

    The first time the EU Council of Ministers has published such a report was in May this year when it released a report on Israel and Palestine.

    CNA MM/GP/1998

    [02] Christodoulou - IMF - World Bank

    Nicosia, Oct 7 (CNA) -- Cyprus' economy has been little affected by the Asian financial crisis and its repercussions, said Finance Minister, Christodoulos Christodoulou.

    Addressing the annual meetings of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in Washington, Christodoulou said Cyprus' real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been increasing at an annual rate of around 4,5 per cent and the rate of inflation is in the 2 - 2,5 per cent range.

    "The economic fundamentals of Cyprus are relatively strong and Cyprus is meeting four of the five convergence criteria of the Maastricht Treaty".

    He said "the economy to date seems to have been little affected by the Asian financial crisis and its repercussions".

    However, he added that the "unfavourable experiences of a number of countries in liberalising their external capital accounts and financial markets too quickly have made the Cyprus authorities cautious in freeing up our markets to harmonise our policies with those of EU countries".

    Christodoulou said a package of taxation and government expenditure- restraint measures aimed at fiscal consolidation will be considered by the House of Representatives in the coming weeks and a bill proposing the removal of the interest rate ceiling will be tabled.

    In his speech, Christodoulou said the ability which the IMF and the World Bank can respond adequately and quickly to financial crises and their economic and social repercussions needs to be enhanced.

    He proposed that priority must be given to making alternative arrangements to enhance IMF resources.

    Christodoulou said Cyprus "will continue to support and cooperate" with the IMF and the World Bank in their efforts "to foster a stable economic and financial environment conducive to growth and development.

    CNA EC/GP/1998

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