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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-01-22
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Wednesday, 22 January 2003
 Foreign Minister meets Head EU Negotiator for CyprusThe Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, met yesterday morning with the Head of the European Commission's Negotiating Team for Cyprus, Mr. Leopold Maurer, who is heading a large delegation currently visiting the island, with a view to monitoring the implementation of Cyprus' commitments, flowing from its accession negotiations.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Maurer praised the successful conclusion of the accession negotiations in Copenhagen - although a solution to the Cyprus issue would have been preferable - pointing out, at the same time, that "our job is not over because now we have to prepare Cyprus to become the best future member of the EU". He noted that the proper implementation of Cyprus' harmonisation commitments would benefit the island, once a full member of the EU.
He added that the European Commission would prepare a final progress report for all ten candidate states on the implementation of the acquis communautaire, six months prior to the date of accession of 1 May 2004.
"In case that a country does not implement the acquis, then safeguard clauses will be put into effect", Mr. Maurer said, adding that such a scenario "could be rather harmful in the first phase of accession".
The EU official told reporters, in reply to a question, that the preparation of the Treaty of Accession was a difficult task, as it would have to be translated into all the official languages of the EU, which total 20 after enlargement, by the beginning of March. He added that the European Parliament would vote on the accession of each candidate state, separately, on 7 April 2003. "A week and a half later, on 16 April, the Accession Treaty will be signed during the Greek Presidency, and then, the process of ratifying the Treaty will begin", he concluded.
On the possibility of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, Mr. Maurer said that the 28 February deadline was put forward in the Annan plan, bearing in mind that the Accession Treaty would be signed on 16 April and to allow for a reunited island to sign the Treaty.
On his turn, the Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, stressed that "it is imperative that we all work hard to implement everything that is provided for in our agreements with the EU, because that would be to the benefit of all the people of Cyprus".
He reiterated that if no solution of the Cyprus problem is found by the signing of the Accession Treaty, the Republic of Cyprus would join the EU, and the Turkish Cypriot community would have to join the entity already integrated into the EU, when there is a settlement. "It is therefore clear", Mr. Kasoulides pointed out, "that it is in the interest of the Turkish side to do everything possible to solve the Cyprus problem before 16 April", adding that it was the Turkish side which would face the consequences if no solution was reached.
He also said that it was in that respect that the UN talked about a tragedy in the case of no solution by the specified February deadline and that was also the reason for criticising Mr. Denktash for saying that the Annan plan was a crime against humanity.
Referring to the 28 February deadline for a solution, he noted that it had been put forward by the UN because that was the final date on which the content of the Accession Treaty could be presented before the European Parliament.
 Environment Minister participates in EU ministerial meetingThe Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Mr. Costas Themistocleous, participated in the Informal Ministerial meeting of Environment Ministers from the 13 candidate countries, which took place yesterday in Brussels, in the presence of the Environment Commissioner, Ms. Margot Wallstrom, the Enlargement Commissioner, Mr. Gunther Verheugen, and the Greek Environment Minister and Chair of the Environment Council, Ms. Vasso Papandreou.
As that was the last Informal Ministerial meeting to take place prior to the signing of the Accession Treaty - after which the ten candidate states will be taking part in the meetings of the Environment Council as observers and, after 1 May 2004, as full members - the focus was placed on the implementation and enforcement of the EU's environmental acquis, rather than on its transposition, which is near completion. Also on the agenda was the implementation of the EU nature protection legislation.
Commissioner Wallstrom, who chaired the meeting, noted: "I am very pleased that the acceding countries will be soon be fully integrated into the EU environment policy-making process. We must now concentrate our efforts on helping them and the remaining candidate countries to implement the EU's environmental laws in an efficient and timely way and on giving them the financial means to do so. We are now entering a critical phase: the rules must be fully applied on the ground and important nature sites safeguarded. This is paramount to ensuring sustainable development in an enlarged EU."
In his intervention, Cyprus' Environment Minister, Mr. Themistocleous, noted that substantial progress had been made in the transposition of environmental legislation in Cyprus over the last few years, and that the Government was actively pursuing the enhancement of the administrative capacity for implementing that legislation, such as through the strengthening of the policy-making and regulatory agencies.
He mentioned that 35 sites on the island have been provisionally selected to be proposed for inclusion in the European "NATURE 2000" network of protected areas. Additionally, the Government had embarked on the difficult task of developing management plans, with the aim to "secure the wider possible implementation of the ecosystem approach, promote science-based decision-making and reaffirm the precautionary approach", Mr. Themistocleous said.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/