The final days of the Cyprus Presidency have arrived. Ithaka, what we were destined for "which gave us the marvelous journey". A day characterized by a juxtaposition of feelings – pride and deep satisfaction, but also of emotion that this journey is almost completed, and an unavoidable sense of relief.
Cyprus assumed the Presidency on July 1, 2012, for the first time since joining the European Union, with a high sense of responsibility and honour, as well as the determination to hold a functional and results-oriented Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Our overall aim was to work towards a Better Europe, a Europe more relevant to its citizens and in the world; a Union operating on the basis of its basic principles and values; a more effective Union with sustainable policies that would enhance employment, growth and social cohesion.
As people and institutions are the source of a democratic Union, we also aspired to promote Europe as a “filoxenos topos”, a hospitable space, without borders and barriers, where social cohesion reigns. An environment that will lead to a friendlier, anthropocentric society, a space where the young feel welcome and are offered the tools to shape and change the world.
One of our main ambitions, which I believe we have fulfilled, was to act as an honest broker, aspiring to work constructively both within the Council and in osmosis with the other institutions, thus facilitating inter-institutional cooperation, being the interface for communication synergy and complementarity between people, institutions and vocations, moving forward the European agenda. Always with respect to the others and upholding dignity and good faith as core ethical values of our approach both to substance and process.
The compass of our work has been our true devotion to the European ideals. This became even more important, taking in mind the challenges faced by the EU, dealing with the consequences of the crisis and the heated debate about the future of our Union. Instead we decided to focus on making the difference on the ground and projecting the essence of the EU as part of the solution for the perennial teleological debates.
Allow me to state, with all modesty and honesty, that the Cyprus Presidency has achieved tangible and significant results for the Union, through a functional and pragmatic approach.
In a few words, our aspiration was to take European integration even a small step further. And, I think that the important results of our Presidency - the conclusion of the Unitary Patent Package, the agreement in the Council for a Single Supervisory Mechanism, the agreement with the European Parliament on the 2013 EU budget and the progress achieved on key actions of the Single Market Act and on the Common European Asylum - are, inter alia, evidence that we succeeded in doing this.
I am confident that the incoming Irish Presidency will do a great job. They have the skills and commitment and the know-how. It would be an honour for us if they were also to find helpful what we have built.
Before concluding, I want to take this opportunity and thank all institutions and our Trio partners Poland and Denmark for the excellent cooperation and, of course, all the people, who worked hard for the preparation and completion of the first Cyprus Presidency.
And with the end of my message, I can already feel the nostalgia beginning to set in around me.
Andreas D. Mavroyiannis