If a proposal for the appointment of an EU envoy on the Cyprus question is put on the table then it will be discussed by the European Council, the Ambassador of Sweden in Nicosia, Martin Hagström said on Thursday, at a press conference held at the EU House, during which he presented the priorities of the current EU Swedish Presidency.
Asked whether the EU should get more engaged in efforts to resume negotiations for a Cyprus settlement maybe with the appointment of an EU envoy who we will deal with the Cyprus problem, the Swedish Ambassador stressed the EU support to the UN-led process for solution to the Cyprus problem.
“The process in Cyprus is UN-led so we have a very strong UN presence here and a strong engagement of the UN Secretary General. There is an established policy of the EU in support of this UN-led process and I think that it important. As EU Presidency we will be guided by the policy that has been agreed in this area in the EU. We are acting in the interest of all 27 EU member states, in line with that agreed policy which is in support of the UN Security Council resolutions, that is the framework that we are acting in,” he added.
Moreover, he said that “as regards an envoy I think that if proposals are put on the table they will be discussed in the Council. But we are not the Presidency in the area of external relations and not for the European Council and these are probably the main areas where such a proposal would be discussed,” he noted.
Asked about Sweden’s position on the Turkish occupation of Cyprus, Hagström said that “there is an established EU policy in this area. There have been numerous European Council conclusions in support of the UN-led process, in support of an agreed solution along the lines of numerous UNSC resolutions. And this is what guides as. As Presidency we stand behind the agreed EU policy and of course we stand behind the international law and UN Security Council resolutions,” he stressed.
To a question about Turkish violations in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, the Ambassador reiterated that “there is an established EU policy in these areas that has been agreed at European Council level on several occasions both on the Cyprus issue and relations with Turkey, and this position is there, and we of course as Presidency stand by that position, and we will continue working if needed within those parameters.”
On her part, Head of the European Commission representation in Cyprus, Myrto Zambarta, recalled that the European Council and the Commission have condemned unilateral actions by Turkey in violation of the international law.
Main priorities of Swedish Presidency
Referring to the main priorities of the Swedish Presidency, Hagström said that the goals of the Presidency have been summarized as for the EU to become greener, more secure and freer.
The starting point is the importance of keeping EU unity and that is really the main task of the Presidency: working in the interest of all 27 EU member states, keeping unity to make the EU stronger and more secure, he added.
Furthermore, he referred to the enormous challenges we are seeing during the last year with the illegal full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the energy crisis and with the economic challenges. This year has underlined the importance of EU unity and also how strong we are all EU member states together when we unite, he stressed.
Referring to Ukraine he said that it is a central priority “to keep up our joint support for Ukraine. It is about political support, it is about financial support, humanitarian support, military support and sanctions (on Russia),” he added.
We also need to respond to the ongoing reform efforts in Ukraine which is aiming to EU membership, he noted.
The Ambassador also noted the “strong and proactive support” that Cyprus together with all other member states has shown on this agenda.
Moreover, he said that the Swedish Presidency will aim to continue to make progress on the EU Migration and Asylum Pact and other issues related to migration.
As regards the priority of making the EU greener, he said that “we want to conclude negotiations on the Fit for 55 which is a legislation package on the Council table aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 55% by 2030 to flight climate change and is linked to the issue of competitiveness of EU companies.”
On making the EU economy stronger, he said that “there will be a continuous focus on the challenges that we have now on the table like high inflation, high energy prices but we will also focus on more long-term challenges to EU competitiveness” and on taking steps to further develop the internal market on issues like services and digital business.
Moreover, he stressed the need to avoid harmful dependencies and strengthen European resilience. We will work on reducing our dependency of Russian fossil fuels. This will be very important for the EU to be stronger in the long term, he added.
On upholding the EU values like the rule of law and democracy, he said that this “will contribute to make all of us together stronger.”
“It is important to always remember that we are the EU so when the EU is successful then we are successful. It is not the EU as something external doing something for us. It is us doing something for ourselves,” the Ambassador noted.
Hagström said that the Presidency will also work on all other issues that are on the Council’s agenda. “There will be something like 2000 meetings organized by the Presidency and there are something like 350 different policy issues that are on the agenda for the Council. So it is an enormous task. On some of them we will put extra efforts because they are extra-topical at this time,” he added.
Sweden – NATO
To a question about Sweden’s application to become a NATO member, Hagström noted that “together with Finland we have concluded a trilateral memorandum with Turkey to pave the way for membership and ratification. Sweden is implementing this agreement in line with Swedish law and in line with the international law.”
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
Source: Cyprus News Agency