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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-05-08

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Denmark and Poland, Marcos Kyprianou, Per Stig Moller and Radoslaw Sikorski respectively, met in Nicosia on Friday ahead of discussions in the coastal town of Polis Chrysohous, in the Paphos district, regarding their presidency of the EU during the second half of 2011 and the whole of 2012.

    Kyprianou said he was ``very happy that we have the opportunity to be here together,`` noting that ``the purpose of the meeting is to prepare for the trio-presidency for the second half of 2011 and 2012.``

    ``Our colleagues and officials of the Ministries have been having meetings already, but at the political level it is an opportunity for the three Ministers to meet, be briefed by our colleagues on how they have been working so far and plan the next steps for the presidency. We will have our meetings in Polis Chrysohous in Paphos,`` he added.

    Sikorski said he was ``delighted`` to be in Cyprus. ``I believe I am the second Polish Foreign Minister to visit Cyprus since we regained our independence in 1989.``

    He said he was also ``delighted that our presidency is so well matched,`` explaining that ``we have the Mediterranean aspect of the EU, the Nordic, and Poland, of course, is one of the members that joined five years ago and represents Central Europe.``

    ``We will try to lead all Europe fairly and I am glad we are starting the work to coordinate our position and to coordinate our activities. On behalf of Poland I would say that we greatly look forward to leading Europe together,`` he added.

    Moller said Denmark has held the presidency a couple of times in the past since joining the EU in 1972 and that personally he was ``president of foreign affairs in 2002, when we made the enlargement.``

    ``I will not promise you that we will enlarge once more with ten countries as we did during our presidency in 2002,`` he added.

    Moller noted that during their meeting in Cyprus they will be discussing their countries` presidency, adding that ``whatever we decide will not necessarily be what we do because the world changes.``

    ``We may be in for surprises but of course we have to make a line for what we are going to do,`` he pointed out.

    To questions regarding Poland`s stance not to ratify the Lisbon Treaty until Ireland concludes its vote on the Treaty, Sikorski said that ``in Poland we have completed the parliamentary part of the ratification process.``

    Sikorski added that the President`s position is ``clear`` in saying that ``Poland will not be an obstacle to the ratification of the Treaty and, as soon as Ireland ratifies, he says he will sign and I believe we can take his word for it.``

    Asked if this might give the wrong message to Poland`s EU partners, Sikorski said other countries have still to ratify the Treaty. ``Each country has a slightly different constitutional arrangement. Our President has made his position clear and I am afraid we will have to live with that,`` he added.

    To questions regarding the major issues that the trio-presidency will have to deal with, Moller said there will still be work to be done on the financial crisis, climate change, terrorism and the rise of extremism in Europe.

    Replying to the same question, Sikorski said ``we launched yesterday the Eastern Partnership of the EU, which was originally a Polish-Swedish idea, so I expect Poland to host the second summit in two year`s time.``

    ``Poland has also consistently been in favour of Europe developing a stronger foreign and in particular defence policy, and you can expect us to be in the forefront on that,`` he added.

    Kyprianou said ``we will have to pick up on the work for the Union for the Mediterranean, which is already creating a lot of problems.``

    ``One thing we know for sure we will have to deal with is the financial perspectives for the next financial period and it will not be an easy task, I have to say, but its our trio-presidency that will have to handle the situation,`` he added.

    Asked about ties between the EU and NATO, Sikorski said ``we do believe in a closer working relationship between the EU and NATO.``

    ``I think it is particularly needed in Afghanistan because NATO is a military superpower. The EU is a developmental superpower. We could win, which is to say leave Afghanistan and hand it over to the rightful authorities by working together on both supplying security and developing Afghanistan and denying it to the bad guys. So I do think that Afghanistan proves how necessary it is to forge those closer links,`` he said.

    He added that ``as EU we should also develop means to back up our diplomacy with force`` noting that ``Poland has been a part of most EU military operations so far, we are also a major contributor to NATO missions, such as in Afghanistan, where we have 2,000 troops right now, and in general we are a border state of Europe so we believe in strong defence.``


    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said that Cypriot President Demetris Christofias official visit to Qatar has fulfilled its goals, adding that the basic goal was to further develop and strengthen bilateral relations for mutual benefit.

    The Spokesman said Friday that visits between Cypriot and Qatari officials would continue with exchange of visits.

    He also said that President Christofias has extended and invitation to Emir of the state of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, to visit Cyprus. The invitation, he added, has been accepted.

    Until today, Stephanou said, eight agreements have been signed between the two states, and nine more are expected to be singed. Investment opportunities were among the issues discussed during the meeting President Christofias held with the Emir of Qatar on Wednesday.


    Cyprus is expected to achieve the highest growth rate in Eurozone in 2009, Minister of Finance Charilaos Stavrakis has said.

    Speaking at an event organized by the Young Presidents Organisation, Stavrakis emphasized on the very good state of the Cyprus economy, compared to other countries.

    The Minister referred to the macroeconomic index, describing it as the best in Europe. Cyprus, he went on to say, is expected to achieve the highest growth rate in Eurozone in 2009.

    In his speech, Stavrakis referred to foreign investments and outlined Cyprus advantages. Cyprus is a full EU member state, member of the Eurozone, has the lowest taxation among the EU states, has signed a series of agreements for double taxation avoidance with a number of countries and has a robust and flexible banking system, he pointed out.


    Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Antonis Paschalides, heading a Cypriot business delegation, will travel to China to promote Cyprus as an international business center.

    According to an official press release, the Cypriot delegation will be comprising 20 representatives from Cypriot businesses. The visit is organised by the Ministry of Commerce in cooperation with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Cyprus China business association.

    Seminars will be organised in Shanghai and Hong Kong, where Cyprus advantages as an international business center will be presented. The Minister will also visit Beijing, where he will hold a series of meetings with Chinese government officials, including his Chinese counterpart, General Director of the Tourism Authority and Director of the Energy Bureau.

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