Cypriots want to join Greece
Cyprus - an EU dilemma? / Heinz-Jürgen Axt - [Electronic ed.] - Bonn, 2001 - 17 pp. = 54 KB, text. - (FES analysis)
Electronic ed .: Bonn: FES Library, 2001
© Friedrich Ebert Foundation
With the end of the old century hopes arose for Cyprus: Accession negotiations with the European Union (EU) progressed rapidly, talks between the leaders of both ethnic groups had resumed, and the appointment of Turkey as an official candidate for membership of the EU by the Helsinki European Council in December 1999 meant that the country was willing to compromise Expect the Cyprus conflict. What happened to it, what is the preliminary balance sheet at the beginning of 2001?
This analysis describes the economic and social developments as well as the current mediation efforts in the conflict between the ethnic groups and the associated EU accession process. In the following, the names of the two parts of the island "Republic of Cyprus" and "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC) are used without making any statements about their recognition under international law or the like.
According to the resolution of the United Nations Security Council (UN) of 1964 and internationally accepted legal opinion, the Republic of Cyprus represents the entire island, although its government consists only of Greek Cypriots and control can only be exercised over the southern part of Cyprus. In accordance with the internationally accepted legal position, the government of the Republic of Cyprus is negotiating with the EU on the accession of the entire island. The TRNC, as the northern part of the island predominantly populated by Turkish Cypriots, but increasingly also by settlers from Turkish Anatolia, does not take part in negotiations with the EU. Even if the TRNC is only recognized internationally by Turkey, from a political science perspective it has the quality of a state with a corresponding government.
Among the EU candidate countries, the Republic of cyprus a top position in terms of economic performance. According to the latest available data, the 667,000 Greek Cypriots achieved a gross domestic product (GDP) of 8.5 billion euros in 1999. With a GDP per inhabitant of 12,800 euros, which corresponds to 81 percent of the average GDP per capita in the EU, the Republic of Cyprus even outperformed the EU member states Greece and Portugal.
Far-reaching structural change in the Cypriot economy can be clearly demonstrated. A far-reaching structural change can be clearly demonstrated in the changing composition of foreign trade. From 1960, when the republic was founded, to 1974, when the island was de facto divided, Cyprus exported mostly agricultural products (citrus fruits) and minerals (copper and asbestos). In the period that followed, consumer goods, predominantly the clothing industry, made up the bulk of exports. Since the 1980s, tourism and services have come to the fore.
Structure of the Greek Cypriot economy in 1999
Source: European Commission, 2000 Commission Regular Report on Cyprus' Progress towards Accession, Brussels, November 8th, 2000, pp. 109 and 111.
Although the Republic of Cyprus has a privately organized economy - the share of the private sector in GDP is 80 percent, and pricing is largely free - the state still plays an important economic role. This becomes clear, among other things, in employee / employer relationships and in the setting of prices for certain goods. There are price controls for bread, milk and cement. Domestic fuel suppliers are guaranteed a pre-determined profit margin, and fuel is capped. The most recent price increases on the international crude oil markets have resulted in the state no longer generating income from excise taxes on fuels, but instead having to grant subsidies to suppliers. The state still has substantial stakes in some companies and a privatization strategy has not yet been drawn up. Substantial State aid is available to the petroleum, financial and aviation industries.
The development of the Republic of Cyprus into an international service and regional economic center went hand in hand with the expansion of the offshore sector. Companies headquartered outside Cyprus enjoy significant tax incentives on the island. been promoted. However, there has been international criticism that this activity is used as a money laundering facility. The Republic of Cyprus has reacted to international criticism, especially from the EU, that Cyprus is being used as a money laundering facility with increased controls. Suspicious transactions are reported. International organizations, including the Council of Europe and the OECD, are now giving good testimony to the Cypriot efforts, which have been intensified since 1996. In 1999 the regulations were tightened again, by 2005 the government wants to have abolished preferential treatment.
Foreign trade is traditionally in deficit. According to the last available data from 1998, the trade deficit was EUR 2,175 million. Imports to the value of 3,130 million euros contrast with exports to the value of 955 million euros. The EU is the preferred trading partner. The Union accounts for 51 percent of exports and 57 percent of imports. The surplus in services, particularly through tourism, amounting to 1,632 million euros (1998), could not prevent the current account deficit from reaching a share of 2.6 percent of GDP at 537 million euros. The foreign debt increased accordingly from 60.4 percent of GDP in 1995 to 155.4 percent in 1999.
The macroeconomic development of the Republic of Cyprus is characterized by the fact that the risks are increasing despite the continued high growth. In 1999, GDP rose 4.5 percent for the third year of rapid growth. Preliminary data for 2000 predict an increase of 5 percent. While tourism and services grew at an above-average rate, agriculture contracted, not least due to longer periods of drought. Inflation has accelerated as a result of expansionary budgetary policy. In June 2000 an average annual rate of 5.3 percent was expected (1.3 percent in 1999).
The Budget deficit could be reduced in 1999 with 4.1 percent of the GDP compared to the previous year (5.5 percent). However, this development is attributed to special economic factors, which, with a corresponding weakening of the economy, causes the debt to rise again. The budget presented in October 2000 aims to reduce the budget deficit to 3.2 percent of GDP. But politics does not succeed in improving government revenues. An increase in VAT was delayed by Parliament for a long time. When an increase of 2 percent was decided in July 2000, on the other hand, parliament pushed through considerable expenditure and tax breaks, which eroded the additional tax income. In April 2000, tax cuts of around 69 million Cyprus pounds were announced to ease the burden on citizens. The total national debt exceeds the government's target of 60 percent of GDP.
Developments on the Cypriot stock market have also posed a risk to macroeconomic stability. After the market index had risen by 850 points in 1999, the price fell sharply in the first half of 2000. In mid-July 2000 the market index had fallen by 50 percent compared to November of the previous year. The finance minister declared the primary goal to be to regain investor confidence.
In an international comparison, Cyprus has a low Unemployment rate on. 3.6 percent of the labor force were unemployed in 1999. 25,000 guest workers are registered in the south of Cyprus. The expanding service sector has increased the supply of jobs in a particular way. The tense labor market situation and the relative strength of the trade unions are generally believed to have led to accelerated wage growth in 2000. In response to pressure from workers' representatives, the government has also included the VAT increase in the cost of living adjustment for 2000, although the measures already mentioned had been taken to compensate for this.
In industrial relations within the Republic of Cyprus, it is important that there is a generally relaxed atmosphere between the politically differently oriented trade unions on the one hand and the employers' associations on the other, which is strongly influenced by social partnership. Both sides accord the state an important role here, which in turn has secured the associations considerable influence on the political sphere. Twice a year, the "Automatic Cost of Living Allowance" (C.O.L.A.) adjusted the income to the inflation trend. According to the system of "Tripartism" central issues of economic and working life are settled between the state, trade unions and employers.
It has been for a long time health care in criticism. There is no nationwide, state-organized care. The unions have partially compensated for the shortage with their own health facilities. However, this has resulted in unorganized workers receiving inadequate medical care. Far-reaching reforms in the healthcare system have recently begun. The aim is to guarantee equal access to medical care across the country. Employers, employees and the public sector should participate in the financing. The increase in health care costs is to be curbed by global budgets and drug lists.
The TRNZ lags significantly behind the Republic of Cyprus in terms of economic development. The per capita GDP of $ 4,500, officially announced by the authorities, is generally considered to be too high. The statism is unmistakable. The state is not only the largest employer, it also pays for more than 50 percent of the investment in property. He also has a monopoly on the purchase of agricultural products, which supports prices. The airline, power supply, telecommunications, tobacco products, shipping and fuel supply are state-owned. Tourism is stagnating because entry is only possible via Turkey. 80 percent of the tourists come from Turkey. In addition to the associated (rather modest) foreign exchange income, students from Turkey who study at one of the five universities in the TRNC have recently contributed to improving their performance at both of them studying at one of the five universities in the TRNC. After a ruling by the European Court of Justice in 1994 prevented the previous practice of circumventing the regulation, the export of goods to the EU is impaired by the fact that customs papers have to be issued in the Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriot side emphasizes again and again that this is an embargo against the TRNC, which hinders the economic development of the north.
In January 2000 there was a serious banking crisis when the subsidiaries of Turkish and then domestic banks had to be placed under state supervision. Loans were in excess and the judicial authorities took criminal action against the management of the affected banks.
The TRNC is highly dependent on Turkey. Around 40 percent of total government spending in 1999 was covered by financial aid from Turkey. That was $ 200 million, after all. There is a currency union between Turkey and the TRNC, which means that the high inflation of almost 55 percent is imported from Turkey. For some time now, Turkey has been pushing the TRNC leadership to consolidate its finances. Turkey itself has to pursue an austerity course, which is why it is calling for appropriate steps in northern Cyprus. It was the Turkish government that came up with a plan. In the meantime, an "economic package" has been decided in the TRNC, which provides for the reduction of subsidies and social benefits, the introduction of new taxes, the reduction of wages and salaries as well as the privatization of state-owned companies. At the beginning of December 2000, an open-ended general strike was therefore called by a broad opposition alliance made up of 41 unions, parties and organizations. If the slogan "This is our country" is repeated over and over again, then this indicates pressure from Turkey, which obviously wants to limit its transfer payments and intensify the TRNC's own efforts. The Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit has also emphasized that because of the financial crisis in the TRNC, Turkey will not provide any new funds, because these funds are not well managed, but spent in a kind of permanent election campaign for populist purposes.
Tensions with the Turkish military in northern Cyprus became apparent when the editor of the newspaper “Avrupa” (Europe) was arrested in July 2000 for allegedly spying against the TRNC and passing on secret information to the Greek Cypriots. The OSCE Media Representative and 37 members of the European Parliament called for their release. In a press release, leading representatives of political parties and trade unions called for the military and police to be placed under civilian control by the elected government. In the TRNC, processes that are well known from Turkey are repeated, such as those in Turkey with regard to the dominant position of the military. The accused has since been released for lack of evidence.
The nomination of Turkey as a candidate for EU membership has raised hopes that the talks between the leaders of both ethnic groups in Cyprus will turn out to be positive. The Helsinki European Council decided on December 11, 1999 with a view to Cyprus: “That a political solution will facilitate the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. Should no solution be found by the end of the accession negotiations, the Council will decide on the question of accession without the aforementioned political solution being a precondition. In doing so, the council will take into account all relevant factors ".
The European Council hereby emphasizes the importance of resolving the conflict without explicitly making the solution of the ethnic group conflict a precondition for accession. Without this, the Greek part of Cyprus will not be given unconditional acceptance of membership. Greece's demand that even a divided island would almost automatically be accepted into the EU if the accession negotiations are concluded with a positive result is not being met. Rather, the European Council reserves the right to decide on the accession of Cyprus taking into account all relevant factors, including political ones. The Cyprus passage has turned out to be a compromise, in which the interests and priorities of the other partners have been incorporated alongside the Greek ones.
It was generally assumed that the appointment of Turkey as a candidate for EU membership - a status that the country had been denied at the European Council in Luxembourg in December 1997 - would lead to Turkey's efforts to settle the I will support differences between the ethnic groups in Cyprus more strongly and in this sense also influence the political leadership in the TRNC. At least - so it is argued - the key to a rapprochement between the two ethnic groups lies in Ankara, which means that after the European political upgrading, Turkey will also do its best to promote a settlement of the Cyprus conflict. Recorded on the course of in autumn 1999 Approach talks ("prox-imity talks") between the leaders of the two ethnic groups it must be examined to what extent this hope has been fulfilled.
In its resolution 1250/1999, as part of an initiative of the G8 group of states, the Security Council called on the Secretary General of the United Nations in June 1999 to invite the leaders of both Cypriot ethnic groups to negotiate. At the beginning of December 1999, a first round of talks took place, although these did not have the character of direct negotiations. Rather were "Close conversations" led, i.e. the Secretary General met with one of the two political leaders and conveyed the views of the other side to him. After the European Council in Helsinki had accommodated Turkey on the question of the status of an EU candidate country, the talks were able to continue. If the EU had decided against upgrading Turkey, they would be proximity talks probably already ended by the Turkish Cypriot side at this point in time. The leadership of the Turkish Cypriots assumes that only the inclusion of Turkey in the European integration process creates that balance (not least with Greece) that enables Cyprus to join the EU on a stable basis.
The second and third round of talks took place in February and July 2000 without any substantive questions being addressed. According to the responsible UN Special Envoy de Soto, detailed discussions on elementary issues were only supposed to take place during the fourth round in September. However, there were no official proposals or even statements from either side. The last round of talks for the time being took place in November 2000. The leader of the Cypriot Turks also took part in it. Denktasch once again demanded that the TRNC be recognized as a precondition for starting new talks, which have since been suspended. Attempts to mediate must start all over again. Allegedly, the US is already exploring the possibility of a "two-state solution" in Cyprus.
Both proximity talks As in all other previous negotiations, Glafkos Klerides and Rauf Denktasch do not appear as presidents of the Republic of Cyprus or the TRNC, but merely as leaders of their ethnic groups. This is the prerequisite for such talks to take place at all, because the TRNC does not exist for the Greek Cypriots under international law. The government of the Republic of Cyprus sees itself (in accordance with the relevant UN resolution) as the only legitimate representation of Cyprus.
In this context, one event deserves special attention: when the UN Security Council had to extend the mandate of the peacekeeping forces UNFICYP (United Nations Forces in Cyprus) for the new twelve-month period from July 2000, the UN Secretary-General noted in his report that each side speak for yourself and no one else. In addition, the Turkish Cypriot side demanded that they also agree to the extension of UNFICYP's mandate. In December 1999, when the UNFICYP mandate was extended, the Greek Cypriots accepted a passage inserted at the initiative of the USA, in which Turkey (as a guaranteeing power) declared that it supported the arguments of the Turkish Cypriot side, according to which UNFIYP only with the consent of both parties Sites are allowed to operate in Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot side protested vigorously, and Klerides threatened to stop the proximity talks to participate. The reason was that the Greek Cypriot side feared an appreciation and even recognition of the TRNC. It was only after this passage had been removed from the Secretary General's report that the leadership of the Greek Cypriots agreed to hold further talks. In response to the deletion of the amendment to the UN resolution, the Turkish Cypriot side took action against UNFICYP on June 15. Since June 30, entry into the TRNC has only been possible via the Ledra Palace checkpoint (in Nicosia), freedom of movement in the buffer zone has been restricted. In addition, the UN must insure its vehicles with Turkish Cypriot companies. Fees for water, electricity and services are to be paid to the competent TRNZ authorities. The UN regretted this step as well as the 300 m advance of Turkish troops into the buffer zone near the town of Strovilia a short time later.
Equality with the other side is a central motive for the Turkish Cypriots. In their perception of history, it has been withheld from them since the founding of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960. That is also the reason why the TRNC insists so emphatically on recognition today. As long as this is not granted, joining the EU is not very attractive for the Turkish Cypriots, something that is all too often overlooked. The Cyprus conflict can be escalated to the question of whether the Turkish Cypriots represent a “minority” or an independent “people”. The Greek Cypriots see the Turkish islanders more as a minority, which means that they - if minority rights are guaranteed - ultimately also have to accept the democratic majority principle. When the Republic of Cyprus was founded, almost 80 percent of the population belonged to the Greek population. The Turkish Cypriots, on the other hand, take themselves as their ownPeople with their own religion, culture and identity and derive the right to national self-determination from this.
Rauf Denktasch reaffirmed this position when, on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the landing of Turkish troops in Cyprus on July 20, 2000, he demanded that a "confederation" of two equal states should be created in Cyprus. In doing so, he contradicted the formula originally accepted by him (including in the agreements of 1978 and 1979) that a solution to the ethnic group conflict should be sought in the creation of a "bi-communal and bizonal federation". This construction, which will also be in 1992 by the UN Secretary General "Set of Ideas" was included, stipulates that few tasks such as foreign and defense policy, the central bank, customs duties and immigration are reserved for the central authority of the Federation, while all other tasks are the responsibility of the political leaderships of the two ethnic groups in their respective countries and theirs reserved territories remain. According to Denktasch, the alienation between the two ethnic groups has undermined the federation. However, the formula of the bizonal and bicommunal federation has always had the character of a formula compromise, because both sides have associated their very different interpretations of the causes of the Cyprus conflict and its solution. If the separation of powers in favor of the Federation is too strong for the Cypriot Turks, it is too weak for the Cypriot Greeks. They want a strong central authority that emphasizes the majority principle.
In spite of the contradictions that broke out again between the two ethnic groups, it was possible in September 2000 at the fourth round of talks between Klerides and Denktasch to discuss four informal "non-papers". UN special mediator de Soto had presented the following ideas, among other things: With regard to the territorial dispute, villages near the demarcation line with a predominantly Greek population should be returned to the Cyprus-Greek side and villages with a predominantly Turkish population to the Cyprus-Turkish side. The cities of Famagusta and Morphou, now located in the TRNC, were to be returned to the Greek Cypriots. To ensure security, the guarantee treaty from 1960, which appoints Great Britain as a former colonial power and Greece and Turkey as guarantee powers, is intended to affirm that non-Cypriot troops are to be withdrawn from the island and an international force under a UN mandate with a Greek and Turkish one Unit to be stationed in Cyprus. The basic right to return property that had to be given up as a result of the events of 1974 is restricted by a number of exception rules. Compensation should be paid in cases where property restitution does not seem possible. This particularly addresses Cyprus-Turkish concerns. The papers presented are very vague on the constitutional question, so that both a federal and a more confederal construction appear possible.
For decades, the political fortunes of Cyprus and the efforts to resolve the conflict have been dominated by a few key people. Nothing seems to be changing in the foreseeable future. Despite all the criticism of his economic and social policy, but also of his clientele economy, Rauf Denktasch was re-elected as President of the TRNC in April 2000. The party system of the Republic of Cyprus has traditionally been shaped by the two rather conservative parties, the Democratic Collection (DISY) and the Democratic Party (DIKO), the Communist Building Party of the Working People (AKEL) and the socialist EDEK (United Democratic Center Union / Socialist Party). There is broad consensus between the parties on issues relating to the ethnic group conflictwhich is promoted, among other things, by the fact that a few key personalities have had a significant influence on politics for a long time. The leading role of EDEK socialist Vassos Lyssaridis, meanwhile, seems to be called into question. Although he was able to assert himself again as party leader at the founding meeting of the "Movement of the Social Democrats", the voices that want to limit the term of office of the chairman have become louder. With the socialist prime minister of Greece he came into conflict over the withdrawal of anti-aircraft missiles of the type S-300.
The European Council in Luxembourg in December 1997 asked the Commission to draw up an annual report on the progress made by the individual candidate countries towards membership. The third edition of these reports, including one on Cyprus, is now available on November 8, 2000. They show that of all the candidate countries, Cyprus has made the greatest progress. The report of November 2000 documents the current status of the accession negotiations and shows the progress made, but also those areas where there are still unfinished business in Cyprus. First of all, the question of the extent to which Cyprus fulfills the political criteria for EU accession, as formulated by the European Council in Copenhagen in 1993, is addressed. Then it comes to the economic criteria, before finally dealing with the extent to which Cyprus is fulfilling the obligations arising from EU membership by adopting the treaties, secondary law and sectoral policies.
len can. The performance of the Cypriot judicial and administrative authorities is also assessed.
The European Commission certifies that the Republic of Cyprus has a functioning democratic systemso that it is concluded: “Cyprus continues to meet the Copenhagen political criteria. The division of the island remains the predominant political problem, but last year was in line with the Accession Partnership (with the EU, d.V.) made serious efforts to find a political solution. "The Commission comes to this positive assessment based on the following circumstances. Firstly, the UN peace process had resumed, secondly, Greek-Turkish relations had improved, and thirdly, Turkey's new status as an EU candidate country could help resolve the Cyprus conflict. With regard to the TRNC, the commission criticizes the extremely strong influence of the Turkish military, the restriction of the freedom of movement of Greek Cypriots and Maronites, the restrictive measures against the UN blue helmet soldiers and the measures against the publisher of the "Avrupa". It is admitted, however, that freedom of expression is generally respected in the northern part. It is also criticized that Turkey failed to comply with a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, which granted a Greek Cypriot woman compensation from Turkey for not being able to use her property in the north. It is noteworthy that, although the Commission assesses the functioning of the democratic institutions for the south, it fails to do the same for the north.
The European Commission had already stated in its 1999 report that the Republic of Cyprus has a functioning market economy which should be able to "withstand competitive pressures and market forces within the Union". This assessment was generally confirmed in November 2000. However, attention was also drawn to the fact that macroeconomic stability has recently been threatened because a credible and coherent approach to fiscal consolidation has not yet been developed. Protectionist trends in industrial policy would have to be dismantled, and the state would have to withdraw from its holdings in commercial enterprises. With regard to the north, it is stated: The economic development is behind the southern part of the island. “A pronounced interventionism prevents the expansion of the private sector, while the financial dependence on the Turkish government has increased noticeably in recent years. The recent banking crisis further weakened the already fragile and poorly supervised financial sector. Poverty, especially in rural areas, cannot be overlooked either. " The plan developed by the Turkish government to consolidate finances in the TRNC has little chance of success in terms of its potential to increase growth.
The Commission goes into great detail on the progress made by Cyprus in adopting the EU acquis on primary and secondary rights (acquis communautaire) by the end of 2000. Cyprus still has the largest in the following areas Adaptation services to provide: standardization and certification of goods in the area of the free movement of goods, removal of remaining restrictions on the free movement of capital, establishment of freedom of movement, antitrust position of public companies and control of state aid, animal and plant health as well as adoption of the common market organization in agriculture, implementation of administrative regulations in environmental protection, adaptation of the consumption tax law, complete abolition of special rules for offshore companies, prohibition of direct financing of the public sector and guarantee of the independence of the central bank as a prerequisite for later participation in the EuropeanMonetary union, approximation of legislation in labor law, equal treatment and health protection, strengthening of border controls (in the event of accession, Cyprus's borders will become the EU's external borders), improvement of administrative structures and establishment of regulatory authorities in the areas of free movement of goods, agriculture, energy, telecommunications and justice and interior.
The Commission is quite positive about the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). It is emphasized that Cyprus takes an active part in the multilateral dialogue, that it takes part in the regular meetings at the various working levels and that it shows a keen interest in the development of a European security and defense policy. At the meeting of the defense ministers of the EU countries and the candidate countries in November 2000 in Brussels, the Cypriot defense minister offered logistical support and cooperation in the investigation. He excluded combat troops for the planned rapid reaction force because his government planned to completely demilitarize Cyprus. The Republic of Cyprus participated in the sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. What the Commission's opinion fails to mention is the fact that the political parties in Cyprus by no means sided with the NATO countries during the war in Kosovo.In a resolution at the end of March 1999, the Greek Cypriot parliament expressed its undivided solidarity with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and condemned NATO's armed action. There was no condemnation of the ethnic cleansing among the Kosovar Albanians. It was (and is) simply the government that supports the EU's foreign and security policy activities. There are a number of critical voices in the population and among the parties.
Quality Progress According to the Commission, Cyprus has achieved in the following areas: adoption of numerous legal provisions on the internal market, transport and environmental protection, increasing the efficiency of the administration, reinforcement of staff to control money laundering, adaptation of company law, takeoverCommunity regulations in antitrust law, legal and administrative regulations in the fishing industry, adjustment of statistics, culture and audiovisual media, legal harmonization in the area of justice and home affairs.
On March 20, 2000 the Council of the EU established an accession partnership with the Republic of Cyprus. This sets out the priority objectives for making the country ready for membership and the financial resources made available by the EU for this purpose. In mid-September, the Republic of Cyprus presented the Commission with its first “National Program for the Adoption of the Community Acquis” (NPAA). On the basis of the Accession Partnership, the Commission takes stock of the achievement of the short term Priorities:
As mentioned, accession negotiations between the EU and the Republic of Cyprus have made rapid progress. Cyprus holds a leading position among the candidate countries. At the beginning of November 2000, the following sixteen negotiating chapters were provisionally closed: company law, fisheries, economic and monetary union, statistics, employment and social affairs, industrial policy, small and medium-sized enterprises, science and research, education and training, telecommunications and information technology, culture and audiovisual media, Consumer and health protection, customs union, external relations, common foreign and security policy and financial control. Most of the remaining candidate countries only had eleven chapters. In mid-November 2000, another chapter with Cyprus was concluded. The negotiations on the generally problematic and conflict-prone areas of agriculture and structural and regional policy have not yet been provisionally concluded, but unlike in the other applicant countries, no particular difficulties are to be expected here either. Agriculture plays a rather subordinate role in the case of the Republic of Cyprus and the progress in adopting the acquis communautaire has been substantial in some cases. The regional political problems are also of lesser importance since the south is prosperous. The north, in particular, would have to claim support.
1. The Republic of Cyprus has made considerable efforts to ensure its ability to join the EU. As the November 2000 progress report of the European Commission shows, it has achieved considerable success in this regard.
2. On the other hand, there are no signs of concrete progress in resolving the ethnic group conflict. The cautious approach during the 4th round of the proximity talks, which was expressed in the fact that the two ethnic group leaders also got involved in the discussion of substantial questions, seems to be endangered. Not least because of the unfulfilled demand for recognition, the leader of the Turkish ethnic group has suspended participation in further talks.
3. The prospect of EU membership has by no means acted as a catalyst for solving the Cyprus conflict, as has repeatedly been hoped for by leading EU representatives. The concepts represented by the south and north of the island oppose previously conceivable compromise solutions.
4. In May 2001 parliamentary elections are due in the Republic of Cyprus, which means that we can hardly expect any major initiatives from this side until the summer.
5. In any case, it must be expected that Greece, as a mentor for the Greek Cypriots, will insist that Cyprus also join after the accession negotiations have been concluded. Greece has repeatedly threatened to veto eastward expansion if Cyprus's accession is delayed, for example by referring to the unresolved conflict.
6.Over the past few years, those responsible in the Republic of Cyprus have made it increasingly clear that they are willing to join the EU without including the northern island territory.
7.This reveals the EU's dilemma: the Union has not yet developed a formula for what should happen if Cyprus has successfully concluded the accession negotiations, but the ethnic group conflict has still not been resolved. Above all, the EU has no answer to the question of how, in the event of accession, the Union is to be prevented from being involved as a party in the Cyprus conflict.
8. Such a case could arise in particular if - for example in the context of a tiered model, according to which the south joins first and the north follows later - the formal scope of the acquis communautaire is extended to the entire island. Under these circumstances, the Greek Cypriots could be tempted to enforce the scope of the acquis through violent measures in the north.
9.Should the southern part of the country join in isolation, it can be expected that the north will become even closer to Turkey. Relations between the EU and Turkey would be strained. The Union would have to take precautions that the two ethnic groups separate Green Line would be permanently secured by international troops - possibly also by the EU's own forces. A de facto upgrading of the TRNC could also be considered in order to achieve a regulated coexistence.
10. The EU will have to find answers to these problems if it does not want to depend on the fact that in the absence of such answers, so to speak, in the final act of the accession process - namely when the parliaments of the EU member states have to agree to the accession of Cyprus - the enlargement of the EU to Cyprus is stopped. The rather optimistic assessment of the fulfillment of the political criteria by Cyprus shows that the EU is still relying on the principle of hope. This is the only way to explain that the current positive elements - resumption of the UN peace process, improvement of the Greek-Turkish relations and upgrading of Turkey to the EU candidate country - are not contrasted with the rather skeptical tendencies - lack of understanding in the peace process and its questioning - Continuation of the substantial differences between Greece and Turkey as well as Turkey's apparent unwillingness to refrain from making Turkish-Cypriot concerns their own because of the rather vague and long-term prospect of accession to the EU.
© Friedrich Ebert Foundation | technical support | net edition fes-library | May 2001
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