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Brussels adopts €33 mln aid for Turkish Cypriot halloumi

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The European Commission has adopted the €33.4 mln Annual Action Programme to help the Turkish Cypriots implement the criteria for PDO-registered halloumi.

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira said the Aid Programme has shown to bring important tangible benefits to the people of Cyprus.

She said the new set of projects adopted seeks to support economic development, reconciliation and confidence-building measures, including substantial assistance for implementing the Halloumi/Hellim PDO package.

“I am confident that this will contribute to efforts for a reunification of Cyprus, which is the ultimate goal of our programme.”

According to the Commission, the programme plans tailored measures as part of the wide-ranging EU support to implement the Halloumi/Hellim package, to help Turkish Cypriots meet the relevant EU standards.

This support follows the Commission’s registration of Halloumi/Hellim as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in April 2021.

It includes improving the food safety and hygiene standards, upgrading dairy farms and dairy yield quality, increasing the yields of sheep and goat milk and eradicating animal diseases.

Additionally, the scheme includes continued support for green energy and the environment in line with the European Green Deal priorities.

Projects to be funded will bring the infrastructure and environmental protection closer to European standards.

Such as measures to complete the air quality monitoring system and the design and acquisition of a noise monitoring system.

“To build confidence between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities, the programme will continue to offer substantial financing to the Committee on Missing Persons and the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.”

Support will also be offered to Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot scholars to jointly attend the United World College (UWC) as part of the bi-communal scholarship programme.

“The programme will further promote trade across the Green Line by developing sustainable and competitive fisheries.

“Finally, it will help to address challenges to economic development and enhance the employability of youth by investing in vocational education and training measures.”

The Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community aims to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging its economic development and acting as Confidence Building Measures, building bridges between the two communities.

“Hence, a particular focus is on the economic integration of the island and on improving contacts between the two communities and with the EU.”

Between 2006-2022, it allocated €656 mln for projects under the EU Aid Programme.