21st Oct 2021

Cyprus to enter EU divided

  • The island will remain divided and militarised as it accedes to the European Union (Photo: European Commission)

The majority of Greek Cypriots have rejected the UN plan to reunify the island before the island enters the EU on 1 May.

The result, which means that EU law will only apply to the south of the island after EU accession, is a strong disappointment to both the European Union and the UN.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"A unique opportunity to bring about a solution to the long-lasting Cyprus issue has been missed", the European Commission said in a statement.

The island will remain "divided and militarised" joining the EU, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said.

In a referendum held on Saturday on both sides of the island, 75.83 percent of the Greek Cypriots rejected the plan while 64.91 percent of Turkish Cypriots accepted it.

While the EU "deeply regrets" the Greek Cypriot no vote, the European Commission said the "yes" vote from the Turkish Cypriot side "signals a clear desire of the community to resolve the island's problem".

The EU has also said it is ready to consider ways to end the economic isolation of the northern part of Cyprus.

The Brussels executive will be presenting its views on the matter to EU foreign affairs ministers at their meeting on Monday in Luxembourg.

The Greek Cypriot’s rejection of the plan has also been criticised by Turkey.

Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs described the results as a demonstration that "the Greek Cypriot side was not ready for a new partnership and co-existence and reconciliation with the Turkish Cypriots".

"The rejection by the Greek Cypriot side of the most comprehensive and serious settlement plan to date regarding the Cyprus issue ... has led to the loss of an important opportunity. This development has also clearly revealed the real source of opposition to a solution in Cyprus", Mr Gul said.

The Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, who in the weeks running up to the poll had called on his people to reject the plan, said he remained committed to reaching a deal with the Turkish side.

"Today's result must act as a catalyst for reunification, and not be used as an excuse for further division", he said.

The basis of Mr Annan's plan was a loose federation for the island which has been divided since 1974.

But the Greek side was unhappy that the UN plan limited their right to return to their houses in the north.

It also felt it did not offer enough guarantees that the 30,000 Turkish troops would be removed from the north of the island following reunification.

No early recognition of Cyprus, says Turkey

Turkey has ruled out recognition of the divided island of Cyprus until there is a peace settlement. Signing a protocol to extend a customs agreement to the ten new member states would not mean official recognition of Cyprus, prime minister Erdogan underlined on Wednesday.


Does North Macedonia really exist?

Its language and history give North Macedonia its identity for president Stevo Pendarovski, but, for Bulgaria, neither of them are real, in a dispute holding up EU enlargement.

Spain to recognise Kosovo if it gets Serbia deal

Spain would be prepared to recognise Kosovo if it clinched a deal with Serbia, Madrid has said, in the first positive signal of its kind since EU-brokered talks resumed.

Kosovo to restart EU/US-led Serbia talks

Restarting talks on Serbia relations will be the new Kosovo prime minister's top priority, he said, but will the EU or the US lead the process?


Montenegro's membership can inspire the European Dream

Today (15 December) I come to Brussels with a simple purpose: to present the credentials of my country, Montenegro, to become the next member state of the European Union, writes prime minister Zdravko Krivokapic.


Does North Macedonia really exist?

Its language and history give North Macedonia its identity for president Stevo Pendarovski, but, for Bulgaria, neither of them are real, in a dispute holding up EU enlargement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Dutch lawyers take Frontex to EU court over pushbacks
  2. Polish rule-of-law debate boils over to EU summit
  3. MEPs back EU food reform, despite strong lobbying
  4. EU calls for end to gas price speculation
  5. Romania pushes live-animal exports despite EU criticism
  6. MEPs poised to vote blank cheque for Europol using AI tools
  7. EU re-launches mammoth fiscal debates
  8. Czech politics in limbo over Zeman health crisis

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us