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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-05-09

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus` preparations for assuming the European Union Presidency are intensifying daily, ``since this is a challenge we take very seriously,`` President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias said on Monday, speaking after a meeting of the Trio of the EU Presidency, namely Poland, Denmark and Cyprus, which will assume the Presidency of the EU for the next 18 months.

    President Christofias also expressed certainty that ``the Trio will be fully prepared to steer the EU for the next eighteen months, in close cooperation with the Presidency, the Commission and the Parliament of the European Union, in a way which would make us proud, but most importantly which would benefit every European citizen.``

    In a joint press conference in Warsaw with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen, President Christofias said ``we are grateful for Prime Minister Tusk`s initiative to organise this meeting of the next rotating Presidency Trio and his generous hospitality today on this special double anniversary.``

    ``On 9 May 1945, Europe was freed and peace arrived after a brutal and catastrophic World War II. Five years later, Robert Schumann called for a new integrated Europe, free from the scourge of war. This incremental process of European integration has made it possible for Poland, Denmark and Cyprus to jointly form the next Trio Presidency of the Council of the EU, a challenge we are eager and ready to face,`` he said.

    He added that ``this meeting offered a great opportunity to establish the next steps of our cooperation and coordination between our countries in order to achieve successful Presidencies.``

    President Christofias noted that ``Cyprus will assume the Presidency of the Council in just over a year`` and assured that ``our preparations are intensifying daily, since this is a challenge that as a relatively new member state and as one of the smallest member states, we take very seriously.``

    ``We are pleased with the draft of the eighteen-month Programme and we endorse its underlying principles. Beyond this, though, Cyprus is particularly interested in promoting a Europe that will cater for its citizens, a Europe that will face and counter social challenges as a result of the global financial crisis, a Europe which will counter poverty, unemployment and where it is not the citizen who has to bear the burden of the crisis, for which he was not responsible,`` he added.

    President Christofias pointed out that ``the next Multi-annual Financial Framework, therefore, must address the needs of the people,`` adding that ``it needs to be financed in a rational and fair way, also taking into account the specific circumstances of all the 27 countries.``

    ``The current developments in the Middle East and North Africa are challenges that we will also have to face together and effectively. Our ultimate goal should be to ensure that there will be substantial improvement in the socioeconomic situation of the peoples of the region as well as social justice,`` he said.

    The President noted that, ``stepping up EU programmes and projects, therefore, through the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean, is of utmost importance to ensure better cooperation with our neighbouring countries, more open communication, coordination and peaceful transition towards democracy.``

    ``These are merely a few highlights of the policy areas on which we are concentrating. We still have a lot in front of us, but we are working tirelessly to ensure that we will be more than ready through effective cooperation and coordination between Poland, Denmark and Cyprus. With only a short time before Warsaw assumes the Presidency of the Council of the EU, I believe that the Trio will be fully prepared to steer the EU for the next eighteen months, in close cooperation with the Presidency, the Commission and the Parliament of the EU, in a way which will make us proud, but most importantly which will benefit every European citizen,`` he added.

    Speaking at the press conference, Tusk said that the three countries are well prepared to assume the EU Presidency both substantially and procedurally, adding that the Trio discussed EU enlargement and that they all share the same view on the issue.

    He added that they also discussed the Eastern Partnership and invited President Christofias and Rasmussen to attend the EU Summit on the Eastern Partnership, in Warsaw.

    Tusk expressed the solidarity existing amongst the Trio and their readiness to assist one another.

    Rasmussen said the Trio can produce significant and fruitful results, adding that his country will deliver the EU Presidency safely into the hands of Cyprus.

    He noted that among the three countries there is common ground on all areas and reaffirmed the excellent cooperation between them.

    During his stay in Warsaw, President Christofias held separate meetings with Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk and Chairman of the Polish Senate Bogdan Burusevic.

    President Christofias and Tusk discussed inter alia the Cyprus problem, Turkey`s EU accession course, bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest.

    The Cypriot President will be returning to Cyprus early morning Tuesday.


    An international conference on the Cyprus issue must take place on the international aspects of the problem only, at the end of the solution process, Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou stressed on Monday on departure to Constantinople, Turkey.

    Kyprianou is traveling to Constantinople in order to participate in the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), as well as in the meeting of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers which will be held on May 11.

    In his statements, Kyprianou said that on the sidelines of the aforementioned meetings, he will hold bilateral meetings with his colleagues and counterparts of various countries.

    He noted that a meeting with the United Nations Secretary General is also scheduled and will take place, barring the unexpected, adding that the main issue of his meeting with the UN chief will be the Cyprus problem and developments in the wider region of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa, where Cyprus has an active role.

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