The EP supports return of Varosha to lawful inhabitants, Metsola said after meeting House President

President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, expressed on Friday the institution’s clear position for the return of the lawful inhabitants of Varosha to their homes, following a meeting with House of Representatives President, Annita Demetriou.

Metsola, who is paying Cyprus an official visit, said that the meeting with Demetriou covered a wide range of topics, from the energy crisis, the rising cost of living in Europe and the war in Ukraine, to the latest issues related to the Cyprus problem, reiterating the European Parliament’s solidarity to Cyprus and urging for negotiations to resume promptly.

Responding to a journalist’s question regarding the EP’s intentions to support Cyprus the same way the it has supported Ukraine, following the Russian invasion, Metsola said that the EP “has repeatedly condemned the fact the Turkey continues to violate the EU Security Council resolutions on Famagusta” and reassured of the institution’s support for “the prompt return of Vasosha to its lawful inhabitants”. She added that “the district of Varosha, the city of Famagusta is a symbol for the Cyprus issue, but also of a European issue and that I want to emphasise, because it represents the prospect of a peaceful solution.”

Regarding the presence of EU representatives in the Cyprus reunification talks, Metsola said that “we have always pushed for conflicts to end and we want people to come around the table and push for a solution that can be agreed by both sides, so if that means that, beside UN representatives there are also EU representatives, this is something that the EP will always accept.”

She also noted that countries that aspire to join the EU, even in this case (Turkey’s) where accession negotiations are frozen, the EU demands need to be continued and “sanctions are to be imposed and enforced by everyone”. She also stressed that “in the EU Parliament we have to ensure that there is no abuse or gaps in that regard,” or that the most vulnerable people on the planet “are not used for some sort of self-pursued geopolitical strategy”.

The President of the EP also spoke of the need for the EU to tackle the increasing migration flows as a pan-European issue, by supporting member states and Cyprus in particular. “I am genuinely concerned with the recent rise in the number of asylum seekers, refugees and irregular migrants, particularly compared to the size of the population,” she said and added that “migration remains one of our greatest challenges and for far too long it has been apparent that member states cannot carry or address this challenge alone.” She noted, that there can be no quick fix on migration, but expressed the belief that solutions can be found, if there is political will.

She also appeared optimistic as regards the recent signing of the “road map with five EU presidencies, with the aim to conclude in negotiations on migration files, before the end of our legislative period in 2024.” She said that, concerning the challenges, this is ambitious, but it is possible, and more importantly that is what the citizens want from the EP.

Replying to a question about Turkey’s role in the increasing migration flows in the Republic of Cyprus, Metsola said that “we have seen similar intimidating tactics in other parts and in the EU we call them hybrid threats, we call them abuse of the most vulnerable people on the planet”. She then stressed that “our institutions and our political reality and statements and decisions have to make sure that we address them”. Also, she said that the EP welcomed the “historic memorandum that was signed between the European Commission and the Republic of Cyprus, specifically to address the migration issue”.

International law should apply with no exceptions, Demetriou says


House President, Annita Demetriou, on her part, said that during the meeting with Metsola they talked of the need for European values to apply in the case of Cyprus and the international law to apply with no exceptions to do with interests which undermine it. Demetriou also noted that Metsola agreed that the Cyprus problem is an “open wound” for Europe and that as the EP President she will strive to have “a more decisive and active role”.

Demetriou also expressed the belief that “enhancing further cooperation between the EP and national parliaments is an important factor in strengthening people’s trust in European institutions and the EU”. She also informed Metsola about a joint initiative with the president of the German parliament, for further cooperation between women parliament presidents in the EU. Respectively, Metsola informed the House President about the upcoming meeting of women parliament presidents in Brussels in October, following the initiative of the Polish parliament president, for cooperation about the consequences of the Ukraine war.

Demetriou appeared certain that Metsola’s official visit in Cyprus will be the beginning of “a closer cooperation, towards building a Europe for tomorrow and the future we want to offer to us and to our children.” She also said the Metsola’s election as the EP President is a “resounding and optimistic message for all women and young people who wish to be actively involved in politics.”

After attending a special plenary meeting at the House of Representatives, in the presence of President Anastasiades, Demetriou and Metsola visited the green line and the barricades, so that the EP President could witness in person the effect of the 48-year long occupation of Cyprus, as Demetriou said.

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. A non-established state. Explain it was unilaterally declared in November 1983 and the UN describe it as “legally invalid” and no country except Turkey recognises it. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency