President Demetris Christofias has expressed hope and expectation that an overall political agreement on the EU budget for the next seven years will be reached at the extraordinary meeting of the European Council on November 22-23.
‘My own personal hope and expectation is that we will decide on a budget of solidarity whose primary goals will be development, the reduction of unemployment – especially among the young – and the eradication of conditions of poverty and social exclusion,’ he noted.
In his address, read out by Director of his Office Christofias Christofides, at the 48th Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC), organized by the Cyprus House of Representatives here, October 14-16, as part of the parliamentary dimension of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU, Christofias stressed that ‘we need a budget that will contribute to strengthening social convergence and cohesion.’
He also noted that having in mind the vision of a Better Europe, the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU is already working towards a Europe which means more to its citizens, and a Europe with a more efficient economy based on development.
Referring to the current economic crisis, Christofias stressed that ‘any measures that we promote at the European level must be based on the main political goal of creating conditions for recovery of the economy, which will lead to the much longed-for development and job creation, especially for the young generation, which is facing the most serious problem.’
‘In this political equation it must not be just the numbers and economic indications which will be consolidated, but also prosperity and well-being of the citizens,’ he added.
Christofias assured that ‘despite the problems and anomalies created in our country by the continuing Turkish military occupation of the northern part of our island, our unwavering goal is to work exclusively as the presiding country, without allowing our national problem to cast a shadow over the work of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council’.
At the same time, he noted, “we will not allow our role as the presiding country to be set as a risk because of the Cyprus problem. For us it is clear that the Cyprus Presidency and the Cyprus problem are two separate but parallel processes.”
On his part, House President Yiannakis Omirou in his address, read out by MP Sophocles Phyttis, said that the EU is at a critical point in its history, a time of financial, economic, and social crisis, but also a crisis of confidence of its citizens towards the law and institutions of the EU and towards their national governments.
He noted that the emergence from the crisis cannot be achieved by one nation alone. ‘It is only through collective efforts and without mutual suspicion that we will be able to reform the Union’s policies in the best possible way, so that the member states will be able to recover economically and thereby find again their social equilibrium and cohesion,’ Omirou noted.
He said that “we need solutions and we cannot use the means of the past to work towards something new. We must once again set the EU’s greatest achievement its single currency on a course that will free it from the structural problems it faces. It is however certain that the policies of unilateral austerity and strict fiscal discipline cannot halt the recession currently experienced by Europe, he noted.
Omirou also noted that the procedures for the Cyprus Presidency and the Cyprus problem are two separate but parallel procedures.
The small island of Cyprus, a large part of which is under the occupation of a country which wants to join the European family is in a position to know the value of peace very well and has experienced first hand what it means to have the human rights of its people flagrantly violated, he said.
He assured that Cyprus is working tirelessly for a just and viable solution, in accordance with international law, the relevant UN resolutions and European law.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded 37% of its territory. The latest round of UN-led peace talks, which began in September 2008, has come to halt as a result of the position adopted by the Turkish Cypriot side, which refuses to continue the dialogue during the six monthly EU rotating presidency, which Cyprus assumed in July this year.
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