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Media Watch 2003

27 September 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Jean Christou
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 27 September 2003
EU approves 12 million Euros development package for the north


E.U. MEMBER states yesterday approved a proposal to provide 12 million euros for assistance to the Turkish Cypriots, aimed at promoting economic development in the north.

The Commission’s package, which had been announced on June 3 by European Commissioner Gunther Verheugen, responds to the European Council’s request that the Commission do what it could to help the people of the northern part of Cyprus.
The Commission had proposed ¤12 million financial assistance for 2003 which involved ¤9 million for economic development and ¤3 million for actions aiming at bringing the Turkish Cypriot community closer to the EU. Most of the assistance for economic development will be implemented in co-operation with the UNDP/UNOPS and will support infrastructure projects for the northern part of Nicosia, Famagusta, and Kyrenia, focusing on wastewater, drinking water, sewage or rehabilitation issues. Gant schemes will also be available and the money also includes cash for feasibility studies to prepare economic integration of the northern part of Cyprus with the EU after a political solution.

In practical terms, the proposed actions in Nicosia involve the modernisation of water and sanitation services, and support for the revitalisation of the walled city and the conservation of the architectural and cultural heritage on the basis of the Nicosia Master Plan.
For Famagusta, the plan is to initiate the construction of a modern waste management system, provide better access to drinking water through a water tank tower, the rehabilitation and revitalisation of the city and the conservation of architectural and cultural heritage.

Kyrenia’s assistance would go to modernise the sewerage system, eliminate health hazards by removing asbestos pipes in drinking water system rehabilitation and revitalisation of the city and the conservation of architectural and cultural heritage.
Two million euros will also go to the private sector, aimed at supporting economic and social development in the north to reduce existing socio-economic differences between the two communities. This envisages a Grant scheme for SMEs, an e-commerce strategy for the business community, support for agro-based SMEs to comply with the acquis, and the promotion of sustainable development linked to environmental protection.

The EU has allocated ¤1.5 million for a Civil Society Development Programme aimed at promoting, through grant schemes and training activities the development of civil society organisations in promoting tolerance, peace and active citizenship.
European integration for trade unions in Cyprus will receive ¤0.5 million aimed at bringing Turkish Cypriot trade unions closer to the EU and to contribute to the economic and social development of the community. This involves training through support to the All Cyprus Trade Union Forum.

Another ¤1 million is to go on an information campaign on the EU and the acquis in the north, which aims at improving the knowledge of the EU and promote greater understanding about Cyprus’ future role in an enlarged Union and thus to assist in the reunification of the island. These will take the shape of seminars, workshops, training activities and translations."