News, interviews and opinions on Cyprus peace process
Saturday, 12 August 2017
Frustration over moves to block TC EU integration
By Esra Aygin
May 12, 2017
The EU ad-hoc committee needs to continue its work uninterrupted if the Green Line is to be erased on day one of a solution, a European Commission official told Cypriot leaders.
Director of European Commission’s structural reform support service Maarten Verwey presented Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades the EU ad-hoc committee’s findings on the level of preparedness of the Turkish Cypriot community to function within the EU.
“There is a lot that needs to be done both legally and administratively, and the short-term scheduling, cancellations, changes in plans on the part of Cypriots create difficulties for the Commission,” said a source.
“We can’t keep stopping and starting this effort. As long as the negotiations are ongoing, we have to continue.”
The bi-communal EU ad-hoc committee was set up under European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in 2015, with the aim of preparing the Turkish Cypriot side for the implementation of the EU acquis in the event of a solution.
The sides agree that the Green Line has to disappear on day one of a solution. Failure to do so would create a lot of practical problems, as it will not be the same as the administrative border between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot constituent states.
Since 2015, there have been a number of interruptions and obstructions stemming from both sides, the source said.
The committee has been delayed a number of times due to concerns of the Greek Cypriot side that the Turkish Cypriot entity may be upgraded through such relations and work with the Commission.
“There is always this concern on the Greek Cypriot side that ‘what if we help all this preparation but there is no solution’,” said the source. “But this is a baseless concern. This effort is undertaken on the basis of the UN solution process.”
The right-wing Turkish Cypriot National Unity Party UBP-Democratic Party coalition has been obstructing the committee’s work by withholding some information and preventing key studies that need to be conducted in the banks, on the pretext that they are against EU methods and funding.
Akinci’s efforts to convince the coalition have, so far, been futile.
“This has been a big problem from day one,” a frustrated Akinci told reporters after his meeting with Verwey.
“It is really impossible to understand why the government would block an effort that would ensure our banks’ functioning in international finance.”
The main argument of the right-wing against a solution is that it will lead to the economic destruction of Turkish Cypriots and result in the collapse of all sectors.
Their campaign in the event of a referendum will probably be built on this argument.
Many observers agree, therefore, that they are doing everything to prevent any kind of preparation in the north for compliance with EU law.