Schulz confident Cyprus will be reunited ‘soon’
European Parliament President Martin Schulz said he was optimistic that “one day soon” Cyprus will be reunited, pointing out that nothing is easy but everything is possible.
Addressing an official dinner hosted by President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia, Schulz said that he was in Cyprus “to express on behalf of the members of the European Parliament, on behalf of the EU the full and unconditional support for your country.”
He said that “as a citizen of a country which had the privilege to be, after 40 years of division, unified in a moment where nobody expected that it is possible” and “now we are 25 years after the reunification of Germany, nothing is impossible.”
Schulz said that “it is an historic experience. It may last a long time but sooner or later you can’t go against history and, therefore, I am optimistic that one day, I hope soon, your country will be a reunited country.”
He also noted that after his meeting with the political parties from both communities, he said that “your island is amid a very turbulent region. A sustainable stability in your country is an enormous contribution to security for Europe and the Middle East, for the Mediterranean, for the whole world.”
On his part, President Anastasiades said that “this year, Cyprus marls the 12th anniversary of its accession to the European Union which was the most important achievement since the declaration of our country’s independence. Our membership in a political union of developed and democratic states, gave us the opportunity both as a society and as a state to enter into a process of reforms and modernisation based on the EU acquis.
“During these years, unfortunately, we have also experienced an unprecedented economic crisis. Nevertheless, the Cypriot economy is emerging back to recovery, faster than anyone could have predicted. We have shown to our European partners that Cypriots are turning our economic challenges into an opportunity, an achievement that was reached with vision, detailed planning and prudence.”
Anastasiades concluded that “the European Union is faced today with two major crises; the scourge of terrorism and the mass refugee flow. I will not get into details now concerning these two critical challenges but I will only say that European solidarity can work if all member states commit to it and defend our values and achievements.
Earlier in the day, Martin Schulz met with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties which participate in the Ledra Palace meetings at the UN buffer zone, for the past three decades, under the auspices of the Embassy of Slovakia in Nicosia.
Addressing the meeting, Schulz said “we are living in turbulent and dramatic times” noting that the EU was never in its history in such challenged times as it is today.
He pointed out that there is not only the refugee crisis, but also terrorism, unemployment, nationalism, the difficult relations with Russia, the Ukraine issue, the developments in the US and China.
We need a strong and coherent EU, he said. Referring to unemployment, he said that there are some regions in Europe where the rate reaches 60% and that this is of concern since the young generation of Europe today is the most educated one.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz said that the work done by the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) is “extraordinary” with regards to bringing dignity to missing persons and showing solidarity to their families and has expressed his continued support and thanks.
Schulz, who visited the CMP premises where the scientific work takes place in the UN protected area in Nicosia said he was “very touched and moved by what I just saw and I want to present not only a guarantee of our support of the European Parliament but also my personal thanks”.
What you are doing is an extraordinary contribution to, I am not exaggerating using the word `peacemaking`, he said. “What you are doing here is not only from a scientific point of view fascinating, it is from a political and from a human point of view unique.”
He repeated an invitation to the members of the CMP, “to come to Brussels and to present in an exhibition to a broader public what you are doing here and to win over a lot of my colleagues to make the support for CMP sustainable for a long standing period.”
“I could never imagine in my life that such a place exists”, he said. He admitted that he “knew the CMP from the budget line of the European Parliament.” Now, he stressed, “I know how important that line is.”