Foreign Minister notes EU contribution in addressing EEZ crisis

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said on Thursday he can not imagine how Cyprus would address today’s crisis with Turkey in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, without EU help. The Minister joined this morning EU, foreign and local officials, during an EU flag-raising ceremony in the courtyard of the Nicosia Town Hall, to mark Europe Day.

The event was organized by Nicosia Municipality, the European Commission Representation in Cyprus and the European Parliament Office in Cyprus. Speaking during the event, the Foreign Minister said that the day marks the most significant development in European history and with no exaggeration one of the most significant developments in world history. He also referred to the accession of the Republic of Cyprus in the EU, in 2004, calling it a milestone in the history of the Republic of Cyprus since its establishment in 1960.

Moreover, he wondered how Nicosia would cope with various challenges in the past few years without EU help. For example, I can not imagine how we could address the crisis in 2013 without the EU, I can not imagine today how we can address the crisis with Turkey within our exclusive economic zone without the help of the EU and that of our partners in the EU he underlined.

The Minister also referred to a series of challenges the Union is facing today, including Brexit, migration and climate change and said that the informal European Council, taking place in Romania, should outline the basis for the future of the Union.

Nicosia believes that all these challenges provide an excellent opportunity to determine the future we wish for, Christodoulides went on, and said that the Republic of Cyprus will be present in negotiations for more Europe, for more integration within the EU.

He noted finally the decision to establish a Permanent Secretariat for European Affairs, in order for Cyprus to be more efficient and active within the EU, and have a role during crucial times ahead.

Speaking at the same event, the Mayor of Nicosia Constantinos Yiorkadjis said that Cyprus managed to overcome and address various crises together with the EU, for the benefit of its citizens. Referring to the next European elections, he said that citizens have a chance to choose their representatives who will take decisions, affecting their daily lives.

Ierotheos Papadopoulos, Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus, noted that Europe Day marks 70 years of peace, which is the longest period of peace on the European continent. He added that 500 million EU citizens currently enjoy probably the highest standards of environmental protection, food safety, and consumer protection in the world, along with free movement and the possibility to live, work and study anywhere in the EU.

Andreas Kettis, Head of the European Parliament Office in Cyprus, also referred to the importance of the upcoming European Elections, noting that while most of us take democracy for granted, it also seems under increasing threat. Thats why we have all great responsibility in encouraging a higher voter turnout at the European Elections, he concluded.

Source: Cyprus News Agency