|Monday, 11 December 2023|
Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 98-06-17
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
 Cardiff EU summit welcomes accession progressThe European Council yesterday welcomed the launch of the accession process with Cyprus in Brussels on 30 March, describing it an "evolutionary and inclusive process".
The Presidency Conclusions of the European Council summit in Cardiff yesterday note that good progress has already been made following the opening of accession negotiations on 31 March 1998 with Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, and that "the screening exercises for seven chapters of the acquis have been completed".
The European Council encourages these countries to "bring forward position papers as soon as possible so that negotiations can advance rapidly".
It also refers to the meeting of the Ministers of Justice and Interior of Cyprus and other applicant countries with their EU counterparts, describing the contacts as "productive". It said further ministerial meetings will take place as the need arises.
The Conclusions also welcome the EU Commission's line on the union's strategy to prepare Turkey for membership, saying this strategy could be "enriched over time, taking into account Turkey's own ideas."
Meanwhile, earlier yesterday the Cyprus government described as "positive" the absence of any attempt to suspend Cyprus' accession talks by any EU member states.
Last week a French spokeswoman said it would be difficult for a divided Cyprus to join the EU, and hinted that France might ask for negotiations to be suspended.
"We consider the fact that there has been no attempt by any country to cause any problems in our accession negotiations as a positive development, " Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said.
 British Foreign Secretary says Cyprus' merits for joining EU are strongThe British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said yesterday that "the Cyprus government and the Greek Cypriot community are entitled to have their application to join the European Union on its own merits and those merits are strong".
In an interview with the BBC regarding the admission or non-admission of Turkey into the EU, Mr Cook said Ankara should be judged on the same criteria as any other applicant: whether it has adequate human rights, whether it has an adequate democratic system of governance, whether it controls the military whether it is a function-market economy.
Asked whether Turkey could not be admitted without a deal in Cyprus first, Mr Cook said:
"I think it is the other way round, because Cyprus already has an application on which we are negotiating and Britain has been very supportive of the Cyprus application".
To a comment that it would be "a security nightmare" to have half of Cyprus in the Union and the other half not, Mr Cook replied:
"Nobody wants to have Cyprus admitted as a divided island, that is why we have stressed that in parallel with the negotiations about Cyprus joining there should be progress on reconciling the division of the island".
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/