What a ride Cyprus has had the past ten years. It started with a high-speed rollercoaster trying to reach a simultaneous solution of the Cyprus problem and EU accession at the same time. The first failed, the second limped.
“No matter”, we said, as we picked up the pieces and moved on, believing every word our EU partners told us. Cyprus behaved and tried to fix a tarnished image afforded to us, supposedly because of an unwillingness to agree to a solution.
Then came the ongoing process of harmonisation with membership rules and continued efforts to undermine the island’s services industry that was trying to find a niche of its own and stand out among financial and business jurisdiction.
There is no doubt that mistakes were made and that Cyprus benefited more from EU regulations than from the solidarity of EU member partners. This was painfully evident in the past year and a half, leading up to the presidential elections and twin Eurogroup decisions in March 2013. And that was followed by the experimentations of the Eurozone wizards who could not tell the difference from their witches’ wands or the conductor’s baton.
Politics continued to be a key player and President Anastasiades has tried to be gentle and diplomatic with his peers during the past 12 months, hopeful of getting on better terms with them.
But now, perhaps it is payback time.
Washington, having failed to play a key role on the doorstep of its long-time foe Russia, now wants the EU to take the burden of being the “bad boy” who will stand up to Moscow and Putin’s stubbornness, not realising how far Russian interests reach on the continent. This is why the EU is split into three camps over imposing sanctions on the Kremlin. Britain, France, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states seem to want tougher measures. Cyprus is in the opposite camp of reluctant states together with Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Portugal and Malta. And of course Germany is sitting on the fence, undecided.
Most of these states have been reluctant to come to the aid of tiny Cyprus in the past decade, especially when it came to the EU family showing true solidarity to a fellow member on the issue of Turkey laughing in the face of Brussels, Paris, London and Berlin, and insisting that the Republic of Cyprus does not exit.
Too bad that despite all the genuine efforts shown by Cyprus towards other EU member states, the feeling is not reciprocated. Which is why Cyprus ought to abstain from any decision that would upset both the Russians and, to a lesser extent, the Ukrainians. Besides, this is the true language of ‘solidarity’ that our fellow EU member partners have taught us.
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