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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-03-20

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

News Update

Thursday, 20/03/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus' ambition is to become an equal EU member, says Foreign Minister
  • [02] Euro-MPs refuse to cross into occupied area under Denktash's conditions
  • [03] Greek and Turkish trade unions support Cyprus' EU entry


[01] Cyprus' ambition is to become an equal EU member, says Foreign Minister

Cyprus' Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said Cyprus will very soon submit proposals aiming to harmonise its legislation and policies with the acquis communautaire, in a bid to implement most of them by the time accession talks begin.

Addressing a meeting of the EU-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee, which concluded yesterday, Michaelides said: "We are fully aware that our accession to the EU does not aim at securing a free entrance ticket", and stressed that "our ambition is to become an equal member."

The Cypriot Minister appealed to the European Parliament, the EU Council and the Commission to contribute effectively to a solution of the Cyprus problem, to enable Greek and Turkish Cypriots to construct a peaceful and secure future.

The Minister referred to yesterday's decision, at a meeting of the permanent representatives of EU member states in Brussels, not to hold the EU-Cyprus structured dialogue next week because of disagreement between EU states over Turkish Cypriot participation in accession talks.

However, he said he was pleased that during his recent tour of six European capitals, he had been assured that accession talks will begin with the Cyprus government as scheduled, six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference.

"What is more important is that this is now the stance of the '15', as expressed at the informal EU Council meeting at Apeldorn," last week, Michaelides added.

The Foreign Minister recalled that the first phase of the European Community-Cyprus customs union agreement will be concluded at the end of 1997 and declared the Greek Cypriot side's readiness to proceed to the second phase and become a full EU member.

The Minister made special reference to measures taken or planned to achieve harmonisation with the acquis communautaire, namely as regards the free movement of people, work permits, social policy and education, the common policy on transport, the environment and regional policy. He noted that the Turkish Cypriots could have major benefits from several EU projects.

Referring to the ongoing proximity talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides, under UN auspices, as well as the "increased interest" of the EU and the US to help these efforts, Mr Michaelides stressed the need that these actions be co-ordinated so that the outcome will be productive.

[02] Euro-MPs refuse to cross into occupied area under Denktash's conditions

Members of the European Parliament, currently in Cyprus for the EU-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee, yesterday refused to go to the occupied areas after the Denktash regime demanded they visit in an official capacity.

The occupation regime had agreed to a request made by the Euro-MPs, through the UN to cross to the occupied areas and visit Greek Cypriot enclaved, but set a number of conditions.

According to Belgian Euro-MP Philippe Monfils, co-chairman of the Cyprus-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, the conditions were that the Euro-MPs meet the regime's `Foreign Minister', that they attend an official lunch and accept an official escort for the visit.

"This would be tantamount to recognition of the regime so we refused," Monfils told reporters at the closing session of two-day conference yesterday, and added that the issue would be raised with the Sub-Committee for Human Rights at the European Parliament.

A resolution passed at the Joint Parliamentary Committee's closing session condemned the action by the Denktash regime. The resolution also reiterated that Cyprus' accession to the EU must not be conditional on a solution to the Cyprus problem.

The resolution criticised the decision by the EU Council to postpone the Cyprus-EU structured dialogue and insisted that it should be pursued. It also reconfirmed the start of accession talks six months after the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Conference.

[03] Greek and Turkish trade unions support Cyprus' EU entry

Greek and Turkish Cypriot trade unions yesterday expressed their unanimous support for Cyprus' accession to the European Union, saying this will bring benefits to workers and the people of Cyprus as a whole.

In a joint declaration issued at the end of the three-day second All-Cyprus Trade Union Forum Study Conference, the 16 trade unions from both communities stressed the need to safeguard, within a future federated state, one system of employment and labour relations, one social insurance system, unified standards of wages and salaries, the freedom of association and movement throughout the island and protection from discrimination of any kind.

They also declared their willingness to expand their contacts and broaden the spectrum of their co-operation by organising working groups on social security, wage, industrial relations and educational issues, as part of the island's preparation to join the EU.

The trade unions also reaffirmed their previous joint declaration of 18 January, 1995, in which they demanded a quick and just solution to the Cyprus problem based on the 1977 and 1979 high level agreements between the two communities and relevant UN Security Council resolutions on the matter, respect for the human rights of all the island's citizens and the establishment of a unitary economy devoid of any type of discrimination.

The declaration urged international and regional trade unions, the UN, the EU, Cypriot political leaders and all other interested parties to facilitate a peaceful solution to the Cyprus issue.


From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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