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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-10-18

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    EU leaders will hold here Thursday and Friday their Informal Meeting and to discuss within the framework of the 2007 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) the EU Reform Treaty which aims at enhancing the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the enlarged Union, as well as the coherence of its external action.

    Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004, will be represented at the Meeting by President Tassos Papadopoulos.

    After their first meeting today the EU Heads of State and Government will have dinner, in the presence of the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Parliament and the Secretary General/EU High Representative for CFSP.

    During their dinner EU Ministers for Foreign Affairs will discuss topical matters of international importance, particularly the Middle East peace process, the situation in Lebanon and Iraq.

    The Treaty creates a full-time President of the European Council of EU leaders, a stronger foreign policy chief with a foreign service, a streamlined voting system based on population size and more say for the European and national parliaments.

    Cyprus Foreign Mminister Erato Kozakou Marcoullis who attended the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council which discussed Monday in Luxemburg the issue of the Intergovernmental Conference for the EU Reform Treaty, has expressed Cyprus` support to reaching an agreement at the Informal Eurpean Council.

    Poland is pressing to insert in the treaty a provision that countries short of a blocking minority may delay an EU decision for several months. Others want to keep this so-called Ionnina Compromise outside the main body of the treaty.

    Moreover, Italy objects to losing parity with France and Britain under a redistribution of European Parliament seats to reflect population changes and Austria wants to be able to set quotas for foreign students because its universities and medical colleges are flooded with Germans.

    In his letter inviting his counterparts and Heads of State to participate in the Lisbon Informal Summit, Prime Minister of Portugal and President of the European Council Jose Socrates, said that since the opening of the Intergovernmental Conference, on 23 July 2007, the Portuguese Presidency has been working with all Member States on drafting the final text of the future Treaty.

    ``We have adhered strictly to the terms of the mandate adopted at the last European Council meeting and, as a result of our discussions, on 3 October 2007 we presented a text which has brought us closer to our objective,`` he added.

    He noted that ``reaching agreement on the final text of the future Treaty is the challenge I am presenting for the Lisbon meeting. This is a fundamental issue for Europe. Adopting the text of the Reform Treaty means not only that the European Union will be able to concentrate its efforts on questions which more directly affect and concern its citizens, but also that it will be able to do so more efficiently.``

    Socrates wished to take advantage of the Lisbon meeting to discuss how to develop the external dimension of the Lisbon Strategy and that he had asked the President of the European Commission to give a presentation at our meeting, based on the document ``The European interest: Succeeding in the age of globalisation``.

    ``In this context, there are two specific subjects of particular importance and relevance which I believe we should tackle in our informal discussions: the financial markets and the political response to the turbulence in the sub-prime mortgage market; and climate change, with a view to the ministerial meeting in Bali in December 2007,`` he added.

    Socrates noted that ``in view of the informal nature of the summit, except for the period when we will meet formally as an Intergovernmental Conference, there will be no formal written conclusions. At the close of the summit I will present some informal oral conclusions, which will provide the basis for my statements to the press.``

    The problems encountered in 2005 during the process of ratifying the Constitutional Treaty led the Union to engage in a process of reflection on future reform. This resulted in June 2006 in an invitation from the European Council to the future German Presidency to prepare a report on the way forward.

    This report, together with the work undertaken by the German Presidency, allowed the European Council at its meeting on 21-22 June 2007 to agree on the convening of an IGC in order to draw up a ``Reform Treaty`` amending the existing treaties with a view to enhancing the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the enlarged Union as well as the coherence of its external action.

    According to the mandate agreed by the European Council the IGC was asked to draw up a Treaty (hereinafter called ``Reform Treaty``) amending the existing Treaties with a view to enhancing the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the enlarged Union, as well as the coherence of its external action.

    ``The constitutional concept, which consisted in repealing all existing Treaties and replacing them by a single text called `Constitution`, is abandoned. The Reform Treaty will introduce into the existing Treaties, which remain in force, the innovations resulting from the 2004 IGC, as set out below in a detailed fashion,`` the mandate said.

    The goal set out is that the IGC completes its work as quickly as possible, and in any case before the end of 2007, so as to allow for sufficient time to ratify the resulting Treaty before the European Parliament elections in June 2009.


    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos met in Brussels with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn.

    President Papadopoulos, who made a stop over in Brussels on his way to Lisbon where he will attend the Informal European Council, discussed with Rehn, during a working dinner, various issues including the Cyprus problem.

    Present at the Brussels meeting was also Cypriot EU Commissioner for Health Marcos Kyprianou.


    Cyprus is becoming one of the most popular destinations for medical tourism as more people from the UK are willing to travel to the island for medical treatment.

    The first Cyprus Medical Tourism Conference was held in London, organised by the Cyprus Commerce, Industry and Tourism Ministry, the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE) the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the Council to Promote Health Services on the island, to advance medical tourism in Cyprus.

    Cyprus High Commissioner in London, George Iacovou as well as Vasilis Rologis, honorary president of KEVE, stressed the benefits Cyprus can offer in tourism and medical services.

    Chairman of the Council to Promote Health Services on the island, Nicos Mavroudias said that open heart surgery in Cyprus can be performed within one week in Cyprus and the cost is 10 thousand Cyprus pounds, compared to almost double that in the UK.

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