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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 00-12-08

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/>

Friday, 8 December 2000


CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus attaches great importance to conclusion of EU Intergovernmental Conference
  • [02] European Commissioner: Cyprus' accession negotiations will be completed in 2002
  • [03] Development of new environmentally friendly technologies is a priority area for Cyprus


[01] Cyprus attaches great importance to conclusion of EU Intergovernmental Conference

Cyprus attaches great importance to the conclusion of the EU Intergovernmental Conference on Institutional Reforms, President Glafcos Clerides said yesterday.

Speaking at the Summit of the European Conference in Nice, President Clerides underlined that "a timely and successful conclusion of the Conference will render an enlarged EU able to effectively cope with the challenges of the future in a rapidly changing European and international environment."

Moreover, it will send "a clear and unequivocal message to the candidate countries of the Union's commitment to enlarge as from the end of 2002 as provided for in the Helsinki conclusions of 1999," he said.

The President pointed out that reform coupled with enlargement would make the European Union "the largest single market for trade and investment, one of the most important political actors in the international scene, that would safeguard democracy, respect of human rights and the rule of law".

Moreover, it would create an environment of peace, safety, stability and security for the European citizens, he said, adding that it would also reconcile Europe with its own past and prepare it for a better future

President Clerides also referred to the role of the European Commission as a motor for European integration and as a balance-maintaining instrument between larger and smaller states, and said that it should be safeguarded.

"The rationale behind each member state having a Commissioner is that the Commissioner acts as a conduit between the Commission and the European citizens, thus increasing the visibility, transparency and collective legitimacy of the Union to its citizens", he said.

President Clerides also said that one should not underestimate the importance of the role of the Commissioner "as the incarnation of the European Commission in the Commissioner's own country at a time when the legitimacy of Brussels is being questioned".

Concluding, the President referred to the issue of weighing of votes within the Council, and said the aim should be the enhancement of the legitimacy of decisions taken. "Therefore, the formula to be devised should respond to the double need of taking into account the democracy of people and the demography of nations," he said.

[02] European Commissioner: Cyprus' accession negotiations will be completed in 2002

The European Union Commissioner for enlargement, Mr Gunter Verheugen, stated yesterday that he is cooperating with the United States, the United Kingdom and the United Nations, so that Cyprus' EU accession course would facilitate efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the European Summit in Nice, Mr Verheugen was optimistic that the UN - sponsored talks on the Cyprus problem would continue, despite the negative stance of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Rauf Denktash, who said that he would not attend the sixth round of talks.

Asked if the Cyprus problem could be an obstacle to Cyprus' accession to the EU, Mr Verheugen said it could not, noting that the conclusions of last year 's EU Summit in Helsinki clearly state that a solution to the island's political problem is not a precondition for accession.

Mr Verheugen said that he could not foresee what criteria would be evaluated when the 15 member states take their final decision. However, he expressed the certainty that accession negotiations with Cyprus would be completed within the year 2002.

From this point onwards, it is up to the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Denktash to decide whether he will participate in the talks for the solution of the Cyprus problem, the European Commissioner said, but noted that time is running out for Mr Denktash.

[03] Development of new environmentally friendly technologies is a priority area for Cyprus

"At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the world is increasingly characterized by the penetration of technology in our life. At the same time, the need for preserving a healthy environment becomes crucial," the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Mr Nicos Rolandis said yesterday.

Addressing the conference on environmental technologies in the hotel industry, Mr Rolandis said that being a country in which tourism is the driving force of the economy, Cyprus' tourism sector is undoubtedly directly affected by the above trends.

Mr Rolandis said that the government follows a policy of continuously enriching the tourist product. Its future plans include the development of marine tourism by the creation of new marinas and the upgrading of the old ones, the construction of new sporting facilities and the further development of agrotourism, he said.

"Throughout the world, most tourist destinations have realized the growing importance of a quality natural and cultural environment, and the need to develop new, alternative forms of tourism" he said, adding that Cyprus will continue to intensify its efforts for tourist development along these lines.

Mr Rolandis said that the increase in the number of tourists visiting Cyprus, along with the growth of the island's economy, have resulted in an increase in energy demand. This increase, coupled with the high prices prevailing in the international oil market lately, are burdening Cyprus' economy while at the same time impose an environmental challenge.

The Government, he said, in an effort to alleviate the problem, has formulated and implements a comprehensive energy policy the main objective of which is the reduction of the country's dependence on imported energy, through rational use of energy and the exploitation to the utmost of renewable sources.

"Indeed Cyprus has a tradition in using renewable energy. In the early 1930/s hundreds of windmills were set up to irrigate small plots of vegetables. Today more than 92% of the households and 50% of hotels and hotel apartments are using solar water heaters for heating water. The 4% contribution of solar energy to the national energy puts our island among those with the highest percentage in the world," he added.

Mr Rolandis said that renewable energy sources are capable of making a significant contribution to the island's energy needs whilst, at the same time preserving the natural environment.

He referred to a scheme for the provision of financial incentives for the implementation of investments in the field of energy conservation and the substitution of conventional fuels and electricity with renewable energy sources. The scheme, which was introduced in June 1999, is also applicable to the hotel sector, he said.

The scheme also includes important initiatives for the promotion of high tech industry through the creation of incubators and the encouragement of research and development in the industrial sector.

"Development of new environmentally friendly technologies is a priority area and the success of this effort could have important effects on the tourism sector," he concluded.


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


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