Learn­ing from Nordic co­op­er­a­tion

E DII TO RII A L

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

With the oc­ca­sional par­a­sites caus­ing trou­ble in the east­ern Mediter­ranean, it was high time the three coun­tries with a vested in­ter­est in peace in th­ese wa­ters got to­gether.

The an­nounce­ment that the Cyprus, Greek and Egyp­tian gov­ern­ments will co­op­er­ate closely to safe­guard their mar­itime bor­ders and, sub­se­quently, their off­shore oil and gas as­sets, is a step long over­due.

This new level of agree­ment, an al­liance even, that be­gins with the en­hanced search-end-res­cue ac­tiv­i­ties by joint Greek and Cypriot ser­vices an­nounced in Athens on Mon­day, is ex­pected to build up to a fully fledged co­or­di­na­tion be­tween civil­ian and armed units of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt, when the lead­ers of the three states meet some time soon.

Al­ready, the fact that Pres­i­dent Anas­tasi­ades was the sole EU head of state at Ahmad Al Sisi’s in­au­gu­ra­tion shows Cairo’s clear in­ten­tions of co­op­er­a­tion at all lev­els, as the dis­cus­sion for business agree­ments in the en­ergy sec­tor and in­vest­ments in in­fra­struc­ture projects has also been on the agenda of re­cent high-level meet­ings.

Lis­ten­ing to for­mer For­eign Min­is­ter Erato Koza­kou-Mark­oulli dur­ing a lun­cheon speech last week, it is clear that na­tion states in this part of the world (at least the sta­ble and demo­cratic ones) ought to co­op­er­ate more closely in all mat­ters, not just is­sues of im­me­di­ate con­cern.

Tak­ing the ex­am­ple of the ‘Nordic co­op­er­a­tion’, per­haps the three coun­tries ought to set up their own rel­e­vant ‘coun­cils of min­is­ters’ to deal with mat­ters of common in­ter­est, in­clud­ing cri­sis preven­tion.

It will then only be a mat­ter of time that the Is­raeli coun­ter­parts will, too, be in­vited to join this triad, or at least co­op­er­ate closely, as all four na­tions share common in­ter­ests in almost all mat­ters. Who knows? Per­haps Le­banon could be next in line to join.

Such a long-term ‘al­liance’, re­plac­ing the one-time Non-Al­lied Move­ment that flour­ished pri­mar­ily on ide­ol­ogy and keep­ing a bal­ance be­tween the West and the Sovi­ets, would also send strong sig­nals to key in­ter­na­tional pow­ers that the days of rogue states and sin­gle-na­tion ban­dits are over. Fur­ther­more, it could also serve as the launch­pad for fur­ther in­ter­na­tional ini­tia­tives, such as the U.S.’s use of (its own) bases in Turkey for mis­sions against the present threat from the Is­lamic State.

Fi­nally, it would also prove that re­gional co­op­er­a­tion is fea­si­ble, es­pe­cially in this cor­ner of the EU that could prove cru­cial for the fu­ture en­ergy needs of the 28-na­tion club. This was a con­cept that was never grasped by out­go­ing High Com­mis­sioner for For­eign Pol­icy, Kather­ine Ah­ston, who never re­alised the im­por­tant role some na­tions play in this part of the world.

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