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Media Watch 2003

27 May 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Stefanos Evripidou
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 27 May 2003
EU package to inject 12 million euros into the north

THE EUROPEAN Commission has said that it will announce its package of measures to assist Turkish Cypriots in the occupied north to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament on June 3.

The package will inject around 12 million euros to the north, concentrating on three main areas: financial co-operation, trade and bringing Turkish Cypriots closer to the European Union. According to the Cyprus News Agency, if a solution to the Cyprus problem is not found by 2004, then the Commission will propose an extension of the measures for one more year.

Financial co-operation will involve a further investment of six million euros on infrastructure through the Nicosia Master Plan set-up, with the possibility of extending the programme to Famagusta and Kyrenia. A further two million euros will be spent on supporting small and medium sized enterprises, while one million euros will be used for feasibility surveys on development of the north.

One and a half million will be allocated to strengthening community ties through the support of non-governmental organisations. The aim is to bring the two communities together under the umbrella of EU membership. Trade unions will be allocated half a million euros, to be distributed through the Pancyprian Union Forum, while one million will be spent on seminars on EU harmonisation and the body of laws required for that.

Regarding trade, the Commission has said it would allow the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce to issue documents for Turkish Cypriot goods to be exported to the EU via the government-controlled ports in the south.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was reported in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika yesterday as saying that the EU had found a formula to lift the “embargo” on the north. He reportedly said that after the embargo was lifted, Cypriot-flagged ships would be able to pass through Turkish ports, while the EU would set up an office in the occupied north to issue export permits.

An EU source yesterday categorically denied the opening of an office in the north, saying that “there was no question” of such an action being taken.

The EU has always denied that an embargo exists on the north, citing a 1994 European Court of Justice ruling which prohibits the import of goods into the EU that are stamped with a certificate of the occupied north."