As the 184 days of Cyprus first Presidency of the Council of the European Union are about to come to an end, this is the moment to look at the Presidency from an entirely “figurative” point of view.
Within this six-month period, the Cyprus Presidency spared no effort and wasted no hour in order to achieve progress in the Council on a significant number of issues. Over 1500 meetings were chaired and organised by the Presidency in Brussels and elsewhere abroad, including approximately 30 Council meetings, 63 at ambassador level and over 1400 at technocratic level. In addition, the Cyprus Presidency put emphasis on the development of close relations and productive cooperation with the European Parliament (EP). Just as an indication of this, Cypriot Ministers visited the EP no less than 60 times during these six months, attending the plenary sessions, presenting issues before the competent Committees, or participating in political trilogues.
While things were running abroad, in Cyprus with more than 160 days of sunshine, 225 meetings and conferences were hosted, 15 of which were informal Ministerial Councils. Many of the meetings took place in the coastal areas of Lemesos (Limassol), Larnaca, Pafos and Famagusta, while the majority were located at the ‘Filoxenia’ Conference Centre, in the capital city of Lefkosia (Nicosia), which turned into a multilingual microcosmos hosting all EU languages for interpretation, as well as Greek and English sign language. While discussing and negotiating important EU issues, the approximately 19000 delegates spent about 26300 nights, in total, in hotels all around Cyprus and experienced different, yet equally interesting, reflections of the island.
In addition, the Cyprus Presidency gave the floor to various institutions and foundations to organise more than 140 meetings and conferences under its auspices, not only in Cyprus, but all over the world, in an effort for the private sector to engage more closely with the Presidency.
What’s more, the Presidency offered thousands of people the opportunity to enjoy and become acquainted with Cypriot culture and civilisation and add Cyprus to their travel books, through at least 350 cultural events organised in Cyprus and all around the globe.
None of these would have been possible without the valuable contribution of more than 1800 people, including volunteers, involved in the making of this project, which covered the entire range of policy issues, logistical operations and communications. Cooperation and coordination were the key ingredients for a smooth and successful performance, while the 310 training sessions offered to the people engaged in the construction of the Cyprus Presidency were mainly focused on efficiency and effectiveness, both in terms of content and quality, as well as time.
Gateway to all relevant information remained the official website of the Presidency, cy2012.eu, which reached out to the public in 5 languages. With as many as 400 press releases and relevant features, 4760 photos and 170 videos, as well as all related information about all meetings and events, the website offered an up-to-date account of what was taking place and welcomed an average of 87000 visits per month, while keeping around 3200 newsletter and news alert subscribers on alert. The three twitter accounts of the Presidency – the central one and the two from the Presidency spokespersons in Brussels – twitted about 2520 times. At least 3346 twitter users followed the central Presidency account, while 2235 followed the ones of the Brussels spokespersons.
As part of the customary gift gesture, 14200 ties and 8200 scarves of the Presidency were offered to delegates participating in the various meetings. The 1750 media representatives who attended the meetings in Cyprus had no trouble adjusting to the particularities of the island’s plugs, as they received a total of 605 adaptors. Halloumi cheese will undeniably remain as one of the dominant Cypriot traditional flavours for all those who enjoyed some of the 650 kilos offered during the meetings at the Filoxenia Conference Centre. 21000 pockets of basil seeds and leaves provided delegates with the opportunity to take a tint of Cyprus aroma back home with them, while the 70000 limited edition post stamps travelled all around the world, spreading the news about the Cyprus Presidency.