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Media Watch 2004

31 March 2004
Source: Kathimerini
Author:
Comment: The following article appeared in Kathimerini of Athens on 31 March 2004.
EU acquis
"A settlement of that sort does not guarantee a workable solution while, at the same time, it legitimizes the partition, forcing the Greek side to fund and bless the exemption of the occupied section of the island from EU law"

Since the first draft of the UN peace plan was made public and its main snags pointed out, numerous politicians and commentators have already said that Cyprus’s main opportunity lies in reaching a settlement that would allow it to function as a single state and as a full EU member. Given Turkey’s 30-year-old occupation of the northern part of the island, and despite recognizing much of the fait accompli which runs against international law, the UN plan could be judged as a positive solution if it guaranteed that the new Cyprus would be a viable state entity that would abide by democratic EU law. If the community’s legal framework were implemented, there would be grounded reason to believe that the subsequent momentum would help overcome the snags and shortcomings of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s blueprint.

But hopes will most likely not be met. Following two Turkish refusals, a statement that the Turkish-Cypriot side accepts the plan as a “starting point” was enough for Annan to promote a stressful and pressure-packed round of talks in Buergenstock — and what is more, reserving for himself the right to fill in the blanks left by the two parties and to submit the final plan for referenda. Although this process was already a concession to Turkish pressure, the revised draft presented by Annan on Monday went a step further, introducing a number of changes that were clearly in favor of the Turkish Cypriots.

Most importantly, the plan envisages a number of indefinite derogations from the acquis communautaire which, if applied, would mean that the new Cyprus could not look forward to a full implementation of EU laws and principles, but would automatically become a problematic state as part of it would be exempted from the acquis communautaire at the expense of democracy, freedom and equality.

It is not clear whether, in its zeal to find a solution, the EU would be willing to mutilate its “sovereignty” over one of its member states and sanction the indefinite violation of its citizens’ rights. But if, for some reason, Brussels gave the green light to such a deal, there is no reason why the Greek side should do so as well. A settlement of that sort does not guarantee a workable solution while, at the same time, it legitimizes the partition, forcing the Greek side to fund and bless the exemption of the occupied section of the island from EU law.

Such a settlement would torpedo Cyprus’s unity and undermine fundamental EU principles. As long as the acquis communautaire is not recognized as a basis for the future of a unified Cyprus, Nicosia and Athens have no room to discuss any other aspects of the plan while the Cypriot people cannot afford but to reject if it is submitted to a referendum."