Christodoulides welcomes progress on PESCO and calls for equallity of all EU member states on EU -NATO cooperation

Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Christodoulides has called for the strengthening of the Structured Defence Cooperation in the EU and the equitable participation of EU members that do not belong to NATO in EU-NATO cooperation, during the EU Foreign Affairs Council, held on Monday in Luxembourg.

Minister Christodoulides also raised the issue of Jordans support on the issue of refugees and expressed his support over the European perspective of Albania.

More specifically, during the debate on PESCO Christodoulides welcomed the progress made in areas that enhance the EUs capabilities and autonomy in terms of defence and security, as well as the implementation of the EUs Global Strategy and expressed Cyprus’ full support to PESCO, underlining that it substantially contributes to the EUs long-term goal of autonomy in defence and security. “This European cooperation pillar,” he said, “is of utmost importance for Cyprus, which does not have any institutional framework for cooperation with NATO.”

During an exchange of views on EU-NATO cooperation, in the presence of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, stressed that Cyprus notes the importance attached by the majority of member states to the need for close cooperation and coordination between the two organizations , but pointed out that such cooperation must be done in such a way as to respect the decision-making autonomy of each organization, ensure the equal participation of member states in any joint action and respect the principle of reciprocity.

Furthermore, at the initiative and request of Cyprus, a debate was included in the Councils agenda on Jordan, during which the 28 examined ways of supporting the country.

In his speech, the Foreign Minister stressed that, in light of recent developments and the economic problems faced by Jordan due to the refugee crisis and the situation in Syria, Cyprus initiative for a debate on Jordan was necessary and timely.

In this context, Christodoulides welcomed the recent visit of High Representative Federica Mogherini to the country, noting that the EU should focus on Jordan, as developments in the region have direct implications for the Union itself and the member states.

The Foreign Minister also noted that the Union should send a strong message of support to Jordan, which is a close and reliable partner in the region, and also an irreplaceable pillar for peace, security and stability in the Middle East.

“It is for these reasons that the EU should provide targeted support to Jordan, using all available means and demonstrating the maximum degree of flexibility, ” he concluded.

High Representative Federica Mocherini and the Foreign Ministers of Ireland, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Portugal, Slovakia and Greece, agreed with Christodoulides on the need for a strong EU message of support to Jordan.

It should be noted that in the morning the EU28 attended an informal working breakfast of the EU member states with Albanian Foreign Minister Dmitry Bushati, organised by the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.

In his speech, Christodoulides expressed support to Albania, pointing out that the countrys reform efforts and the new orientation of its foreign policy are successes for Albania itself and for the EU as well.

At the same time, the Foreign Minister noted that during the summit on the Western Balkans in May, European leaders expressed their clear commitment to the European course of Albania, providing a date for starting of accession negotiations with the country. “Now is the time for the EU to confirm this commitment”, the Foreign Minister concluded.

Finally, the 28 discussed the situation in the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea region and Mali, and also reviewed the situation in Yemen, in the presence of the United Nations Special Representative for Yemen, Martin Griffiths.

Source: Cyprus News Agency