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Press Release - The Cyprus Presidency to move enlargement process and the humanitarian aid objectives of the EU forward
10.07.2012, 19:43 (CET)
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, appeared before the European Parliament committees of Foreign Affairs (AFET) and Development (DEVE), on Tuesday July 10, 2012. Dr. Marcoullis presented the priorities of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU in the fields of Enlargement and Humanitarian Aid, respectively, and answering questions by several Members of the European Parliament.

“I look forward to an honest and constructive dialogue and cooperation between the Cyprus Presidency of the Council and the European Parliament, with the aim of moving forward both the enlargement and the Humanitarian Aid objectives of the EU,” Ms Marcoullis stated, stressing the vital role of the European Parliament as co-legislator after the Treaty of Lisbon, but also the important role of the Commission in the process of European integration.

The "peace process" of enlargement

Speaking first before the AFET committee, the Minister of Foreign Affairs referred to the process of enlargement as a “peace process”, one that promotes the universal values of respect of human rights and the rule of law, rendering the Union a catalyst in the advancement of democracy, stability and prosperity in Europe.

“Enlargement will form one of our main priorities,” stated the Foreign Minister, “always on the basis of strict conditionality as set by the Council decisions and conclusions, and on the basis of the “own merits” approach”. 

The Cyprus Presidency will work on achieving progress in the accession negotiations of Iceland, and on moving the European perspective of the Western Balkans forward. The Cyprus Presidency will look to build on the momentum created by the forthcoming accession of Croatia, and by the recent decisions of the European Council to grant candidate status to Serbia and for the opening of accession negotiations with Montenegro.

On Turkey, the Cyprus Presidency intends to act objectively, reviewing the state of play in Turkey’s accession negotiations and also cooperating with the Commission with regards to the “Positive Agenda”, as defined, and in compliance with the Council Conclusions of December 2011.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed that progress in Turkey’s European course depends on the country itself, pointing to specific conditions and obligations set by the Council, which include the extension of the Ankara Protocol to all member states, and normalization of relations with the Republic of Cyprus.  

Answering questions by MEPs on the stated policy of Turkey not to cooperate with the Cyprus Presidency, Ms. Marcoullis said that Turkey, as a candidate country, must respect this fundamental institutional feature of the European Union provided for in the Treaty. “We are ready to work with Turkey, if Turkey respects the Cyprus Presidency.”  

Responding to MEP questions, the Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted the leading role of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Baroness Catherine Ashton, and the close cooperation that exists between the HR and the Cyprus Presidency.

EU response to the Arab Spring developments

Referring to developments in the Arab world, Dr. Marcoullis stressed the need for a comprehensive and coherent EU approach.

“We need to show the people of the region that we are with them in their struggle for democratization and transformation,” said Mrs Marcoullis. 

Responding to questions concerning Syria, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that Cyprus supported, from the beginning, the initiatives of the Arab League and the UN, and condemned the loss of life and the violations of human rights in the country.

Noting that Syria is only 100 km from the shores of Cyprus, she stressed that Cyprus is ready and has made contingency planning to assist in a possible humanitarian crisis in the region and to respond to a possible need for evacuation of EU and third country citizens from the region.

EU, a global leader in humanitarian aid

Speaking to the members of the DEVE Committee, the Minister of Foreign Affairs pointed to the importance of the EU’s development and humanitarian aid policy.

“Cyprus is assuming the Presidency at a difficult juncture when development and humanitarian aid budgets of member-states are under great pressure from the global economic and financial crisis. We believe, however, the European Union must maintain and strengthen its global leadership in addressing the many humanitarian challenges that we are faced with,” stated Mrs. Marcoullis. 

Turning to two of the most severe recurring humanitarian emergencies, in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, the Foreign Minister stressed the need to effectively address the underlying causes of structural food insecurity, displacement and the strengthening of resilience of the countries in the region.

She commended the efforts of the outgoing Danish Presidency, as well as of the Commission, in advancing the EU’s development and humanitarian agendas through initiatives such as the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps and the renewed Food Aid Convention, which have the full support of the Cyprus Presidency.

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Nikos Christodoulides

Coreper II

Email: nchristodoulides@mfa.gov.cy
Telephone: +32 27395152
Mobile: +32 473400441
Communications Officer
Charis Christodoulidou

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Email: cchristodoulidou@mfa.gov.cy
Telephone: +357 22401165

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