Monday

1st May 2017

Cyprus to allow EU aid to Turkish Cypriots

The Greek Cypriot government has announced it will drop legal action against EU aid to Turkish Cypriots in the north of the divided island, in a boost to chances for settling the long-term dispute between the two communities and between Europe and Turkey.

The decision unveiled by Nicosia on Tuesday (3 June) involves eight European Commission tenders "relating to services and projects for the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community," a government spokesperson said, according to AFP.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Cyprus has been divided since 1974 (Photo: UN)

The legal action was launched by the administration of hard-line peace-process rejectionist former president Tassos Papadopoulos. But the office of the new pro-unification president, communist Demetris Christofias, elected in February, found a legal solution to allow the tenders to take place.

According to the government's spokesperson, the compromise version of the text of the invitations for EU tenders now formally clarifies that the north is not a third country separate from the Cyprus Republic.

The disputed aid package involves only €10 million out of €259 million earmarked by the EU for Turkish Cypriots, but it could prove essential for the implementation of other projects financed from Europe's coffers.

The EU wanted to improve economic ties and deliver financial support to Turkish Cypriots in the wake of the failed referendum on the island's re-unification just ahead of Cyprus joining the bloc in 2004.

The UN-sponsored peace plan was supported by the north of the island but rejected by Greek Cypriots, although the result had no influence on their winning membership in the EU. Subsequently, Nicosia blocked several attempts by Brussels to continue with its aid pledges to the Turkish Cypriots.

But analysts say the prospects for reconciliation have somewhat improved with the new leader, who also chose a former European commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, as the country's foreign minister in charge of reunification initiatives.

Turkey's link to Cypriot dispute

A favorable gesture by Nicosia towards Turkish Cypriots - if it is applied as a general principle to other EU projects in the north and also when being decided at EU level - could also produce an important shift in Europe's relations with Turkey.

It was primarily due to the union's failure to keep its promise on aid to Turkish Cypriots and on lifting the economic embargo on the northern republic that Ankara chose not to open its ports and air space to Greek Cypriots ships and planes.

As the decision meant that Turkey is not fulfilling one of the conditions under which it was allowed to begin EU entry talks, the 27-member bloc decided in December 2006 to freeze negotiations in eight out of 35 areas covered by EU law.

Turkey is the only country which recognises the Turkish Cypriot territory as an independent state.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops moved in its northern area, following a short-term military coup supported by Athens that tried to unite the island with Greece.

Mob storms Macedonian parliament

A nationalist mob violently stormed parliament in Macedonia on Thursday, amid EU concern on police conduct during the attack.

Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU

Beijing special envoy on the Syrian conflict said in Brussels that "imposing" a solution from the outside would "not be workable" and that the peace process will not be "smooth sailing".

Russia suspected of Macron hack

Likely Russian spies tried to steal email passwords from Macron's people the same way they hacked US elections, new study says.

Russia threat triggers European military spending hike

Russia's annexation of Crimea in Ukraine has intensified military and defence spending throughout much of Central Europe, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Mob storms Macedonian parliament

A nationalist mob violently stormed parliament in Macedonia on Thursday, amid EU concern on police conduct during the attack.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process

Latest News

  1. EU boasts unity on Brexit talks
  2. May’s election juggernaut
  3. EPP scolds Orban over university and NGO laws
  4. Oxford-Studie besorgt über 'Schrott' News in Frankreich
  5. Alte Freundschaft zwischen Le Pen und Putin
  6. EP chief faces questions after homophobic 'summit'
  7. EU signals Northern Ireland could join if united with Ireland
  8. One year later: EU right to open internet still virtual