‘Turkey should not disrespect Cyprus’ presidency’
TURKEY MUST respect the fact that President Demetris Christofias is not only representing Cyprus as of July 1, but the whole of the European Union, said the President of the Group of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament Hannes Swoboda yesterday.
Speaking after meeting with Christofias, the head of the second largest party in the European Parliament said he was “disappointed” with the lack of respect shown by Turkey to Cyprus and its upcoming EU Presidency.
“It is a European Presidency. Turkey cannot expect from Europe compromises if it doesn’t respect the decisions of the EU. President Christofias is not representing only Cyprus, he is representing the Union in these six months and this has to be respected by Turkey.”
Swoboda called on Turkey to make moves to push forward its EU accession path, like proving more “helpful” towards the reunification of Cyprus.
It was not possible for Turkey to demand more progress in its EU accession talks on the one hand while on the other, block “even small steps forward” like the opening of Varosha “which would constitute an important signal and sign of the readiness of Turkey and of the Turkish Cypriot community to go forward”.
The European socialist further argued that many Turkish Cypriots were not happy with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu’s position in the direct negotiations “to more or less withdraw and not be helpful at the talks”.
The Austrian national gave his whole-hearted support to the Cypriot president, saying he has done, is doing and will continue to do “a great job in this country and for Europe”.
On economic issues, Swoboda said his group was in total agreement with Christofias on the need to combine economic policy with social policy, to balance austerity measures with measures to stimulate economic growth.
“We are not happy with what happened in Greece with the Troika enforcing some measures that were clearly not helpful in solving the crisis,” he said.
He criticised European leaders for taking decisions without first going to Greece to talk with the people. “They should see the poverty and the shops closed in Athens and so on,” he said.
Swoboda said the EU had to show more flexibility and not act “nearly like a colonial power” when giving money to a member state, particularly when that money goes to assist a bank.
He hoped that after the elections in Greece last Sunday, things will get better: “I am absolutely sure that the Cyprus Presidency will help solve the economic issues and together with the proposals from the French government modify the economic strategy not only on austerity but also growth.”
Regarding Cyprus’ efforts to secure the recapitalisation of its banking sector and address its refinancing needs, Swoboda said the fact Cyprus was considering a loan from Russia showed that the EU’s internal mechanism was not working well.
“The normal thing would be the money given from friends in the community would be the cheapest and the best offer. It is like being in a family and a cousin or brother needs money and it is more difficult to get money from the brother than from somebody from the outside. It’s a bit of a strange situation,” he said.
(Source: Cyprus Mail)
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