Republic of Cyprus, although small in size, has traditionally played
ever since its establishment in 1960, an important role in regional
and world politics.
Cyprus has developed
and maintains good relations with all countries, some of which have
conflicting interests, and has on many occasions been the venue
place of important events and a bridge of communication.
The Republic of
Cyprus has pursued throughout the Cold War years a non-aligned policy
and remains to this day an active partner of the Non-Aligned Movement.
However, the prevailing feature has always been the island's strong
political, social, cultural and historical bonds with Europe. The
Republic joined the Council of Europe in 1961 and has been strongly
involved in all of its political organs and machinery.The Republic
is also a member of the Commonwealth
of Nations since 1961 and participates regularly and actively in
all of its bodies and activities. In 1993 Cyprus hosted the Commonwealth
Cyprus joined the
United Nations Organization (UN) soon after becoming independent.
The UN became heavily involved in peace-keeping and peace-making
roles after the first phase of intercommunal strife in 1963. The
United Nations Peace Keeping Force (UNFICYP) was formed in March
1964 and it is stationed since then on the island. A number of UN
secretary-general emissaries have also been involved in a peace-
making role both before and after the 1974 Turkish invasion but
up to that moment with only limited success. The UN secretary-general
continues to have the mandate of the Security Council to pursue
efforts for the peaceful settlement of the political issue on the
island. The Government of the Republic is considering the UN as
its mainstay in the ongoing struggle to restore its independence,
sovereignty, territorial integrity and human rights of its citizens,
which have been heavily infringed upon as a result of the Turkish
invasion and continuing occupation of more than one third of the
territory of the Republic. It actively participates in most of the
bodies and institutions of the World Organization.
Security is an issue
of major concern for Cyprus and for this reason the Government of
the Republic welcomed the Helsinki Final Act (1975) which led to
the establishment of the Conference on Security and Cooperation
in Europe (CSCE), transformed into the Organization on Security
and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with a mandate to strive for the
achievement of stability, security and economic development throughout
Europe. Within this broad context Cyprus hopes that a viable security
framework would guarantee its sovereignty and territorial integrity
as well. In the region Cyprus maintains excellent relations with
both the Arab countries and Israel. It supports the ongoing peace
process in the Middle East and could potentially play a more substantial
role in the consolidation phase of the peace process.
maintains living bonds with many countries of the world through
the physical presence on their territory of thriving Cypriot communities.
Overseas Cypriots are indeed the island's best ambassadors abroad.
Cyprus is since May 2004 a full member of the European Union.
showed an interest to establish an Association Agreement with the
EEC in the early sixties in parallel with the British application
for full membership to the EC. However with the freezing of the
British application, its interest remained dormant until 1971 when
it was reactivated almost simultaneously with the renewed efforts
of the United Kingdom to join the European Community. Cyprus entered
in 1971 into negotiations with the Community, which was to lead
to the signing on 19th December 1972 of an Association Agreement
between the two parties. The final scope of the said Agreement was
the completion in two stages and within a period of ten years of
a Customs Union between Cyprus and the EEC.
Turkish invasion and occupation of 37% of the territory of Cyprus,
which caused a serious economic upheaval, delayed the normal implementation
of the Association Agreement and in particular of its second stage.
Finally and after successive extensions of the first stage, a Protocol
for the second stage of the Association Agreement was signed in
Luxembourg on 19th October 1987, paving the way towards the progressive
realization of a Customs Union between the two parties. Under the
provisions of this Protocol, the Customs Union between Cyprus and
the E.U. should be completed by the year 2002 or 2003 at the latest.
Both the E.U. and Cyprus are required to eliminate all tariffs and
quantitative restriction on all manufactured goods and a number
of clearly defined agricultural products (mainly potatoes, citrus
fruit, other fruit and vegetables and wine). In parallel Cyprus
will adopt progressively the Common External Tariff (CET) of the
Union with the aim to bring its own customs tariffs into line with
those of the E.U. by the end of 1997.
On 4 July 1990 Cyprus
submitted an official application for full membership of the Communities
and on 30 June 1993 the EC Commission issued its opinion on Cyprus
application. Through the opinion the EC Commission confirmed that
the Community considers Cyprus as eligible for membership and added
that it is ready to start the process leading to the island's accession
as soon as the prospect of a settlement of the Cyprus problem is
surer. It also undertook to reassess the situation in January 1995
should the intercommoned talks fail to produce a settlement.
Meanwhile on 19
and 20 July 1993 the EC Council of Ministers heard a presentation
by the Commission of its opinion on Cyprus' request for accession
to the EC. On 4 October 1993 the Council presented its conclusions:
The Council supported
the Commission's approach which was to propose, without awaiting
a peaceful, balanced and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem,
to use all the instruments offered by the Association Agreement
to help, in close cooperation with the Cypriot Government, with
the economic, social and political transition of Cyprus towards
integration into the European Union. To that end the Council invited
the Commission to open substantive discussions forthwith with the
Government of Cyprus to help it prepare for the accession negotiations
to follow later on under the best possible conditions, and to keep
it regularly informed of the progress.
The Council also
confirmed the Community's support for the efforts made by the United
Nations secretary-general to produce a political settlement of the
Cyprus question. If, in spite of these efforts, there was no prospect
of a solution in the foreseeable future, the Council agreed to reassess
the situation in the light of the positions expressed by each side
in the inter-community discussions and to examine in January 1995
the question of the accession of Cyprus to the European Union in
the light of this situation.
Since 1977, Cyprus
and the European Economic Community, have signed three protocols
on financial and technical cooperation providing for a financial
aid of a total amount of 136 million ECU. This aid includes loans,
grants, special loans and contributions to risk capital formation.
The total amount
of the first two Financial Protocols (30 and 44 million ECU respectively)
was used to finance infrastructure development projects in Cyprus
such as the Sewerage Project of Nicosia Stage II, the Water Development
and Supply Project of Vassilikos - Pentaskinos, the Dhekelia Power
Project, the Southern Conveyor Project - Phase I and the Nicosia
Master Plan - civil works and construction in Ledras / Onassagorou
streets in Nicosia and Kyrenia avenue (in the occupied part of Nicosia).
It should be noted
that part of the resources of the above Financial Protocols were
also used in joint projects, also beneficial to the Turkish Cypriot
community. The third Financial Protocol of a total amount of 62
million ECU, which was signed in 1989, is being used for the financing
of projects in the productive sectors in order to facilitate their
adjustment to the new competitive conditions arising from the Cyprus
- EC protocol for Customs Union. The risk capital revenues will
be used for the creation of joint ventures with partners of EC countries.
Besides the above
Three Financial Protocols, Cyprus benefited from funds of a total
amount of 600.000 ECU from the Community program "MEDSPA" (Mediterranean
Special Program Action) which was used for the financing of three
environmental projects in the coastal area of our country
Ministries of Cyprus