There is no doubt that the Presidency of the EU Council will present enormous challenges for Cyprus in many ways. One of these challenges is how to keep local journalists and correspondents based in Brussels informed on discussions and decisions to be taken that could have an important impact on our daily lives and the course of Europe as a whole. Meet the people tasked with this job for the Cyprus Presidency.
To deal with the diversity of journalists and the enormous volume of information that needs to be made available, the Cyprus Presidency of the EU Council has appointed three spokespersons. One in Cyprus- Mr. Costas Yennaris -and two in Brussels - Mr. Nikos Christodoulides and Mrs Marianna Karageorgis.
“We are really excited because we were given the opportunity to serve as spokespersons for Cyprus and to provide a real service to our country . Brussels is a hub for journalists from all over the world and we shall do our utmost to serve them well,” says Mrs Karageorgis.
The fact that this is the first time Cyprus is taking over the EU Presidency presents an additional challenge for all involved.
“Holding the Presidency for the first time,” says Costas Yennaris, “is something new for Cyprus, but we have to prove that we are a mature member state of the EU and to respond correctly to the institutional duties of the country presiding over the EU.”
Mr. Yennaris’ duties, as Presidency Spokesperson in Cyprus, include the briefing of European officials and journalists visiting the island during the Presidency, making the public aware of issues relating to the European Union and contributing to a positive and memorable experience for those visiting Cyprus as part of the Presidency.
A point which the three Presidency Spokespersons stress is that Cyprus has no hidden agenda and that it will exclusively promote the interests of the European Union as a whole during its Presidency. It is determined to act as an honest broker, trying to find common positions and compromises among the member states. Cyprus will be judged on the basis of its ability to effectively negotiate solutions that will be acceptable and useful for all member states and achieve progress on complex issues such as the Multiannual Financial Framework, growth and the creation of jobs - with special emphasis on young people - and among others, the completion of negotiations for the Common European Asylum System.
In Brussels, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides will be the spokesperson on issues relating to the Committee of Permanent Representatives –COREPER II- which deals largely with political, financial and foreign policy issues, while Marianna Karageorgis will be the spokesperson for COREPER I which deals mainly with social and technical issues.
The aim of the two is to keep correspondents in Brussels informed about what is going on regarding the Presidency, giving direct, specific and clear replies concerning the meetings of the Council of Ministers. It is noteworthy that the Republic of Cyprus, in order to cope with the enormous volume of work has increased the number of people employed at its Permanent Representation in Brussels from a regular staff of 80 persons to 230 for the Presidency.
“24/7 Online Presidency”
Practically, the spokespersons of the Cyprus Presidency are expected to be available to press representatives throughout the week almost round the clock. “We have to be available and in a position to respond to journalists’ questions. One can speak about a 24/7 online Presidency,” Karageorgis explains.
Mr. Nikos Christodoulides sees the Cyprus Presidency both as a great challenge, but at the same time, an opportunity for Cyprus.
“A successful Presidency will boost the international prestige of the Republic of Cyprus and through the institution of the Presidency, Cyprus will reaffirm its European identity and orientation,” he concludes.
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