Green Line Regulation born out of necessity
The Green Line Trading came into power after crossing points opened in 2003 following mass demonstrations by Turkish Cypriots, and Cyprus’ accession to the EU after the failure of the Anan Plan Referendum aiming to reunite the island in 2004.
With the country entering the European Union, but remaining divided, and the Cyprus Republic not having control over a significant part of its territory, an anomaly was created within the EU which had to be addressed.
As crossings had already opened in 2003, an issue of movement of people and goods across a ceasefire line arose.
The Regulation provides a stable legal framework for the crossings of Cypriots, other EU citizens and third country nationals who cross the Green Line at authorised crossing points. The Cyprus Republic is responsible for making sure that the regulation is applied, with the local representation of the European Committee issuing an annual monitoring report.
According to the Green Line Regulation, goods may be introduced from nongovernment-controlled areas into government-controlled areas, provided that they are local produce and are accompanied by a document issued by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO).
Although Turkish Cypriots did not adopt the EU regulation, they created a mirror regulation to facilitate Greek Cypriot products being traded through the Green Line, also accompanied by documents issued by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
It is noted that products traded through the Green Line Regulation are mainly for local consumption. Based on information collected to date, only a small number of products from the north have been exported abroad, such as Cypriot Delights (Turkish Delights/Loukoumi), aluminium scrap, copper and a small amount of fresh produce.
Neoklis Sylikiotis, former Trade Minister and currently MEP for AKEL and the GUE/NGL group, told the Financial Mirror that the regulation was essentially a compromise made by the Cyprus Republic to prevent the “pseudo state in the north to obtain a special trade status with the EU, which would essentially see it take on a status similar to that of Taiwan”.
He said that the danger has yet to be eliminated and may be revived if the competent authorities continue to pose obstacles to the regulation and trade between the two sides.
“We need to apply the regulation to the letter. If we do not do so, the matter of direct trade with the European Union (and the north) will be put once more on the agenda of the union,” Sylikiotis said. He stressed, however, that the GLR should be treated as a temporary measure.
“It should not become a permanent state of affairs as it will only help to prolong the current status quo”.
Not every politician’s cup of coffee