Kyprianou not meeting Turkish Cypriot parties

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Van der Meer leaves for Kazakhstan

Three shortlisted to replace him

Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Markos Kyprianou is visiting Cyprus on Friday this week and will be meeting the leaders of (Greek Cypriot) ruling parties AKEL, DIKO and EDEK, as well as opposition parties DISY, the United Democrats, the Green Party, ADIK, European Democracy and the new European Party.

No specific Commission proposals will be made, as this is part of the regular schedule of EU Commissioners of contacts with the political parties of their home countries.

One group of political party leaders not on Kyprianou’s list is the Turkish Cypriot political parties, who, it appears, declined to meet the Commissioner.

“He would have liked to have met with the Turkish Cypriot political parties”, a Commission spokesperson told the Financial Mirror.

The Turkish Cypriot press and information office was unable to comment on why Kyprianou was not visiting Turkish Cypriot politicians.

One possibility is that Turkish Cypriots are dissatisfied with the rules on health and safety that have reportedly prevented certain Turkish Cypriot agricultural products from crossing the Green Line under the Green Line regulation.

Van der Meer’s happiest day

Meanwhile, head of the EU Representation in Cyprus, Adriaan van der Meer leaves his post on Friday to take up a position as EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is a huge oil-rich country in Central Asia, bordering, among others, China, Russia and Mongolia.

At a farewell lunch with journalists last Friday, Van der Meer was asked by CyBC’s Costas Yennaris to name his happiest and unhappiest days during his term in Cyprus.

Van der Meer replied without hesitation that his happiest day was April 23, 2003, when the checkpoints opened, allowing Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to mingle for the first time in decades.

The diplomat would not be drawn on what was his worst day.

Three names on the shortlist

In keeping with normal practice, the EU Representation will now be headed by a national of the host member state.

Three people have been shortlisted: Themis Themistocleous, Director of the Cyprus News Agency, a senior member of DIKO and thought to be the President’s favoured candidate; Praxoulla Anton-Kyriacou who holds a senior position at the Central Bank and is a member of George Vassiliou’s United Democrats party; and Demetris Komodromos, technically apolitical but thought to be backed by DISY. He was formerly at the Press and Information Office and press officer at the Cyprus Embassy in Brussels but was one of the string of embassy officials appointed by the previous government who lost their jobs when the new government took office.

Although Themistocleous is the favourite, the final decision on the candidate will be made in Brussels. If the decision is not made before August 1, then it will be postponed until September.

The EU Representation will in future take on a strictly “press office” role.

Aware of sensitivities among Turkish Cypriots about having a Greek Cypriot representing the European Commission in Cyprus, all matters relating to trade will be dealt with directly by Leopold Maurer’s office in Brussels.