Jean Claude Juncker spoke of his vision of a “reunited, prosperous Cyprus”, expressing full support to efforts by the government of Cyprus for a political settlement, based on UN Security Council resolutions and EU principles.
Addressing in Nicosia the extraordinary Democratic Rally party congress, ahead of European Parliament elections, the EPP candidate for European Commission President said that, if elected, he will do his best to facilitate negotiations between the two communities in reaching an agreement on a comprehensive settlement, in line with the acquis communautaire and EU values.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu reached on February 11, 2014, an agreement, which led to the resumption of UN- backed peace talks, with a view to reunite the country under a federal roof.
The EPP candidate also referred to Turkey`s role, noting that it should implement the Ankara Protocol, hand the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta over to its lawful inhabitants and respect the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with international law.
“Now is the right time for all parties involved, to put aside past differences” and seek in earnest a compromise acceptable by both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Juncker stressed.
He expressed Europe`s willingness to actively assist the UN and the two sides in their quest for a timely, viable and lasting solution.
Moreover, he referred to recent gas discoveries off Cyprus noting the country`s significant role in bolstering the EU`s energy security policy.
The EPP candidate also referred to his ambition to re-unite crisis-stricken Europe, promising an EU acceptable by both North and South. “Over the next five years, I am prepared to work hard to get Europe out of this crisis and to heal the wounds and divisions that the crisis has inflicted upon our citizens and our member states” Juncker added.
Cyprus, he continued, has also been hit by this crisis particularly hard, adding that if the country`s previous government had reacted promptly, by adopting the programme suggested by the international lenders, Cyprus would have been in a very different position today.
In his speech at the party congress, he praised President Anastasiades` current government for “acting with determination to put things back together”, an effort praised by all quarters. Juncker remarked that there is still a long way to go before Cyprus is out of the woods and called on the government to seize this opportunity and make all necessary structural changes.
Concluding his speech, Juncker said he will do his utmost to ensure that the European People’s Party will win the European elections and called people to “make sure that the Commission is led by elected politicians and not by unelected bureaucrats”.
Addressing the same conference, Democratic Rally President Averof Neophytou said that Europe will acquire more unity and solidarity with Juncker at the helm of the European Commission. He called the EPP candidate a “great European statesman” who has lent his support to Cyprus in difficult times.
Neophytou presented the party`s six candidate MEPs, noting that all of them can worthily represent their country at the European Parliament.
Get all the latest news and videos in your inbox. Register FREE