EU Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot Community: Six Years On
12.03.2012 The EU aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community turns six today. The programme aims at facilitating the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community. It focuses in particular on the economic integration of the island, on improving contacts between the two communities and with the EU, and on preparations for the transition to the EU's legal order.
Six years since its launch, the aid programme has brought tangible benefits to the Turkish Cypriots and has been a catalyst in bringing the Turkish Cypriot community closer to the EU. The activities financed through the programme range from infrastructure projects such as the construction of a pilot solar power plant and the replacement of asbestos water pipes, to measures that foster confidence-building and reconciliation such as demining of the buffer zone, construction of new Green Line crossing points, preservation of cultural heritage and support to the bi-communal Committee on Missing Persons. Students and teachers receive support to spend up to one year abroad and grants are being provided to civil society organisations, farmers, schools, villages and small and medium sized enterprises. The European Commission is committed to continue this work that makes a difference in the daily lives of Turkish Cypriots and helps prepare for the reunification of the island.
Since 2006, the EU aid programme for Turkish Cypriot community totalled €292 million. The programme is implemented by the European Commission, either directly, or in cooperation with international organisations. The Council Regulation establishing an instrument of financial support for encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community (no. 389/2006) entered into force on 10 March 2006.
Learn More: Success Stories
The EU aid programme brings the Turkish Cypriot community closer to the EU and to EU standards. Some examples of what has been achieved since 2006:
The replacement of leaking concrete asbestos pipes in a number of towns was successfully completed in 2011, leading to significant improvements in terms of water supply. In the northern part of Nicosia, a substantial reduction in water losses has been reported, resulting in overall water supply to the northern part of Nicosia falling from 0.67 to 0.40 m3/day/consumer meter.
In the energy sector, the pilot solar power plant is now operational. It is the first plant on such a large scale on the island of Cyprus.
Public spaces and squares in several traditional villages in the northern part of Cyprus (i.e. Kalavac/Kalyvakia, Hisarköy/Kampyli, Akıncilar/Louroukina, Kormacit/Kormakitis; Erdemli/Tremetousia) were upgraded in cooperation with UNDP.
A flagship project in terms of cultural heritage is the restoration of the Bedestan and its reuse as cultural centre in the northern part of the walled city of Nicosia. This project started in 2004 and was completed in 2009.
A politically important component of the Aid Programme is the support to reconciliation, confidence building measures and bi-communal cooperation:
The opening of two Green Line crossing points at Yeşilırmak/Limnitis (in October 2010) and Lokmacı/Ledra Street (in April 2008) was funded under the Aid Programme.
The Aid Programme was the main source of funding of the Mine Action Centre to implement the multi-annual demining project to clear the buffer zone. The project was finished ahead of schedule in 2011 (apart from the clearing of four mine fields).
The EU is also the single biggest donor to the activities of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) with an overall contribution of € 6.5 million. Bi-communal teams of Cypriot scientists carry out exhumations and anthropological analysis of the remains of individuals of both communities from different burial sites located across the island.
In addition, the EU is co-funding the construction of a new Nicosia bi-communal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) to be completed in the second half of 2012 serving both communities in Nicosia. The construction of a bi-communal WWTP constitutes a significant confidence building measure, enhancing cooperation between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities.
Finally, the scholarship programme gives Turkish Cypriot students and teachers the opportunity to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level in other Member States’ universities for up to one academic year. Since the start of the scholarship programme in 2007, around 500 grants have been awarded.
For more information please follow this link: http://www.ec.europa.eu/enlargement/turkish_cypriot_community/index_en.htm