Thursday

28th Jan 2021

Greece: without Cyprus no EU enlargement

Greece is prepared to block European Union enlargement if any member state attempts to exclude a divided Cyprus by December's Copenhagen summit. Aristide Agathocles, Greek ambassador to the EU, said it was "unthinkable for any Greek [political] party to vote in favour of accession that does not include Cyprus". If Cyprus was "not among the first lot, there will be no enlargement", the Financial Times reported. The talks between the two sides, which have been going on since January, have not led to any results. Moreover, the tension seems to be rising as Turkey sent an additional 5,500 troops to the Turkish-occupied part of the island.

The EU would prefer to admit a united Cyprus

Ten countries comprising the Baltic and east European countries, as well as Cyprus and Malta, are expected to join the EU by the end of the year. The EU would prefer to admit a united Cyprus. "Some slippage is possible, but not much," said a diplomat close to the talks. "Athens, Ankara, the EU and both communities in Cyprus know that unless something unforeseen happens, Cyprus, divided or not, will be ready to join the EU by Copenhagen," he added.

Cyprus urged to find solution by October

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

During a debate at the European parliament on enlargement, Cyprus was urged to find a solution by October, since a deadline in June seems now unrealistic. The Commission has repeatedly said that a solution to the divided island is not a pre-condition for enlargement, however the EU is aware that if only the Greek part of Cyrprus is admitted into the EU, relations with Turkey might be jeopardised. Moreover, if Cyprus does not join the EU in the next enlargement, Greece is threatening to block the whole accession process.

Spanish Secretary of State, Ramon de Miguel, called on Cyprus to reach a solution before the 24 October. The issue of Cyprus and Turkey, are expected to be amongst the main items on the agenda of the Copenhagen Summit in December.

Cyprus accuses Turkey of hindering its accession into the EU

Tensions between the two sides, however, rose as Turkey decided to send an additional 5,500 troops to the Turkish-occupied north of the divided island, bolstering its military presence there to more than 40,000. Cypriot Defence Minister, Socrates Hasikos, on Tuesday accused Ankara of waging a war of nerves. "This is a systematic effort on behalf of Turkey to create tension; it is no longer confined to words but has progressed to action," Hasikos said, according to the Greek newspaper Ekathimerini.

He said Turkey's act of military brinkmanship was a deliberate move to escalate tension ahead of Cyprus’s impending European Union accession. "Turkey wants to appear convincing in its efforts, which are none other than to prevent Cyprus from joining the EU," Hasikos said. "It is a war of nerves against the Greek Cypriots and the EU."

Interview

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?

News in Brief

  1. Putin holds out olive branch to Europe
  2. US snatched Russian anti-air system from Libya warlord
  3. UK to extradite alleged trafficker to EU despite Brexit
  4. EU puts trust in Boeing 737s after post-crash ban
  5. EU animal-export trade under harsh spotlight
  6. City of London wants to set rules for EU
  7. MEPs want 2030 targets to reduce consumption footprint
  8. Coronavirus cases worldwide pass 100m

Opinion

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.

Interview

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. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. Poland imposes anti-abortion law amid EU concern
  2. The EU's vaccine strategy - the key points
  3. EU-AstraZeneca row flares up after vaccines shortfall
  4. First Covid, now McKinsey - how austerity hit EU healthcare
  5. Frontex suspends operations in Hungary
  6. Cyprus: a heavy caseload for new EU prosecutors office
  7. MEPs: Portugal 'risks undermining' trust in EU prosecutor
  8. EU to control vaccine exports in row over delays

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us