EU approves €31.6 mln aid for Turkish Cypriots

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The European Commission announced Tuesday it has adopted a €31.6 mln second Annual Action Programme for aid to the Turkish Cypriot community to support new projects that facilitate Cyprus reunification.

It comes in addition to the €5 mln that was approved earlier this year.

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira said: “Projects under the Aid Programme aim to improve infrastructure, support economic development, foster reconciliation, and bring Turkish Cypriots closer to the EU.

I am confident that they will contribute to efforts for reunification of Cyprus, which is one of the main goals of our assistance.”

Priorities of the programme include support for the preparation and financing of key infrastructure projects and environmental protection.

Further measures are planned “for the improvement of the electricity grid, an economic stimulus package with short and longer-term support, focusing on a sustainable and resilient greener economy in response to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic”.

Support will also be provided for improving food safety, the provision of statistical data, special needs education and lifelong learning.

“With a view to building confidence between the Turkish and Greek communities in Cyprus, the programme will continue to provide substantial financing for the Committee on Missing Persons and the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage,” the Commission said.

“In addition, continuous support for civil society will help to enhance island-wide cooperation between NGOs and inspire further bi-communal activities, thereby contributing to the process of reunification.”.

A bi-communal scholarship programme will provide for increased interactions and shared learning experiences between the youth from both communities.

Brussels provides assistance to the Turkish Cypriot community through the EU Aid Programme.

“The objective of the programme is to encourage the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community with particular emphasis on the economic integration of the island, and on improving contacts between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities and with the EU.”

Between 2006 and 2020, €591 mln has been allocated for projects under the Aid Programme.

The first Action Programme adopted earlier this year covered the emergency economic support for micro and small businesses following the coronavirus outbreak. (source CNA)