Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean (9.251
sq. km), situated in its eastern part. It is at the crossroads
between Europe, Asia and Africa and plays a bridge building
The island's main economic activities are banking, tourism,
craft exports and merchant shipping. Over the years the
economy gradually developed into a modern economy, with
dynamic services, industrial and agricultural sectors and
advanced physical and social infrastructure.
The Republic of Cyprus gained its independence from Britain
in 1960 foreseeing a bi-communal structure i.e. peaceful
existence of both communities side by side. In 1963, however,
political crisis and inter-communal violence broke out,
which resulted in 1974 in a de facto partition of the island.
Although efforts have been made to settle the Cyprus issue
under the auspices of the UN until now, the country still
remains divided. However the ban on crossing to and from
the south has been lifted on 23 April 2003 for both Turkish
and Greek Cypriots. In the first eight days thereafter approximately
90.000 Greek Cypriots and 30.000 Turkish Cypriots took advantage
of this situation crossing the line between the north and
the south in a general sentiment of joy. No incidents were
reported, on the contrary a warm welcome was given to the
visiting Greek Cypriots by Turkish Cypriots and to the visiting
Turkish Cypriots by the Greek Cypriots.
The Accession negotiations were opened with Cyprus in 1998.
They were concluded in December 2002.
After ratification of the Accession Treaty, Cyprus will
become a member of the European Union.
Cyprus has been a centre of international trade since the
copper that was worked on the island from 2500 BC - giving
the name to it - became the basis of thriving exports, with
Cypriot seafarers ranging as far as Egypt, Syria and Babylon,
as well as Sicily and Crete. Although Greek settlers in the
11th and 12th centuries BC brought the Greek language, religion
and arts, Cyprus' close cultural and commercial ties with
the Orient marked it out as different from other areas characterised
by a common Greek culture.
In ancient times, Cyprus was ruled by different powers
(Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian, Macedonian). A Roman province
from 58 BC to 395 AD, it became part of the Byzantine Empire
(395 - 1184), and after periods of French (1192 - 1489)
and Venetian (1489 - 1571) reign, the Ottoman Empire took
over (1571-1878). Finally, Great Britain administered Cyprus
as a colony from 1878-1960. With the Treaties of Zurich
and London of 1959, Cyprus was given independence while
Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom reserved for themselves
special rights as Guarantor Powers.
At the time of independence in 1960, Cyprus was inhabited
by 80% Greek Cypriots and 20% Turkish Cypriots. The constitution
foresaw (and still foresees) a bi-communal structure. The
peaceful existence of Greek and Turkish communities side
by side, but differing in language, culture, religion and
national traditions, ended already in late 1963 when a political
crisis and inter-communal violence broke out. The Turkish
Cypriots withdrew from the common institutions. The United
Nations sent for the first time peacekeeping forces to the
island, which are present up to date.
In July 1974, supporters of integration with Greece conspired
in a Coup against President Archbishop Makarios. This resulted
in a military intervention by Turkey, the landing of its
troops in the northern part of the territory of Cyprus,
and the de facto partition of the island. This led to large-scale
population movements across the cease-fire line and more
especially, from the northern to the southern part of the
island. Since then, various efforts of the UN to come to
a peace agreement took place, but the country is still divided.
Nicosia, the capital, still has a wall like Berlin once
had. The northern part of Cyprus has not been recognised
by any country in the world, except for Turkey which is
stationing there 30.000 military.
In 1990, the government of the Republic of Cyprus applied
for EU-membership in the name of the whole island. The accession
negotiations started in March 1998 and were completed in
December 2002. On 16 April 2003 the Accession Treaty was
signed in Athens paving the way for Cyprus becoming Member
State of the European Union as from 1 May 2004.
4. POLITICAL SITUATION
||Republic of Cyprus
||The 1960 Constitution has been retained
although all provisions relating to the participation
of the Turkish community in the exercise of executive,
legislative and judicial powers are no longer applied.
||Universal obligatory direct suffrage over
age 18. Separate presidential and parliamentary elections.
|Head of State
||President Tassos PAPADOPOULOS (since February
||Mr George IACOVOU
|Head of Negotiating Team for EU-Accession
||Takis HADJIDEMETRIOU (since April 2003)
||President Papadopoulos formed a Centre-Left
Coalition government (involving former Communists, Social
Democrats, centre-right Democrats and independent personalities)
The New Government since 28 February
|Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Finance
Mr Markos Kyprianou
Minister of Defence
Mr Kyriakos Mavronicolas
Minister of Commerce,
Industry and Tourism
Minister of Labour and
Mr Iacovos Keravnos
Minister of Communications
Minister of Justice and
Mr Doros Theodorou
Minister of Agriculture,
Mr Efthimios Efthimiou
Minister of Education
Mr Pefkios Georgiades
Minister of Health
Mrs Constantia Akkelidou
Mr Kypros Chrysostomides
Under-Secretary to the
Mr Michalis Pasiardis
*) Cyprus has a presidential system - there
is no Prime Minister.
The House of Representatives exercises the Legislative
power. Since the withdrawal of the Turkish Cypriots from
the Republic's institutions (1963), the House of Representatives
has functioned only with Greek Cypriots parliamentarians.
They are elected by obligatory universal suffrage for a
five-year term. The last elections were held on 27 May 2001.
The next elections are due to be held in 2006.
There is a special Committee for EU and External Affairs
in order to assist the harmonisation process. This Committee
consisting of 19 members examines all legislative instruments
that are required for the approximation of the national
legislation to the acquis, with the possibility of a fast-track
procedure. Parliament, as supreme legislative authority,
has the final say on budgetary and legislative matters.
Representation of the political parties
in the Parliament:
May 2001 %
Democratic Rally (PPE affiliated)
Progressive Workers P. (former Communists)
Democratic Party (centre right)
Social Democrats (PES affiliated)
United Democrats (liberal)
An independent judiciary exercises the administration of
justice. The main judicial institutions are the following:
The Supreme Court of the Republic, The Assize Court (Permanent
Assize Court for all Districts), District Courts, Military
Court, Industrial Disputes Court, Rent Control Courts, Family
Under the Constitution, judges are bound to be impartial.
They are independent from the other branches of government.
Whereas first instance judges are appointed, transferred
and promoted by, and are subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction
of the Supreme Council of Judicature (composed of members
of the Supreme Court), the Supreme Court judges (Attorney-General)
are appointed by the President of the Republic. He is the
Head of the Law Office of the Republic which is an independent
office and a key element in the harmonisation process. The
Attorney-General is the legal adviser of the President and
of the Council of Ministers.
- Cyprus became a member of the United Nations in 1960,
of the Commonwealth and of the Council of Europe in 1961.
- Cyprus is member of the OSCE since 1995.
- Cyprus is an active proponent of regional co-operation
in the Mediterranean basin and strives to contribute to
regional stability in the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean
- Since its application for membership of the EU in 1990,
Cyprus aims at aligning its commercial policy with the
EU's common commercial policy and co-ordinates positions
and policies within the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
with the EU.
- Cyprus participates in the multilateral political dialogue
and continues to align itself regularly with instruments
of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
Cyprus is a functioning market economy with a sufficient
degree of macroeconomic stability to cope with competitive
pressures within the EU. It has a successful economic performance
and is classified by the World Bank as a high-income country.
GDP per capita amounts to 18,500 € which is 80 % of
EU average and places Cyprus to the first among all Candidate
Countries. In the labour market, unemployment has remained
low (3.4% in 2002) due to Cypriot economy's success, the
pursuance of macro-economic policies by the government as
well as the existence of a dynamic and flexible entrepreneurship
and a highly educated labour force. Moreover, the economy
benefited from the close co-operation between the public
sector and the social partners. During the last decade Cyprus
has intensified its economic links to Europe. The EU is
Cyprus's largest trading partner (54% and 52% respectively
of Cyprus's exports and imports in the year 2002).
The services sector, and in particular tourism, has been
the primary source of this impressive economic performance
(65% of its population is employed in that sector). Although
industry and agriculture still employ close to 30% of the
population, their contribution to the GDP is lower (21%
for industry, 4% for agriculture) and declining every year.
In 2001, almost 3 million tourists visited the southern
part of the island. Direct receipts from tourism accounted
for 9.2 % of GDP in 2001, whereas the share of trade and
tourism amounted to 22%. The importance of the services
in the economy has allowed the Cypriot economy to benefit
from productivity gains and show an impressive growth during
the last years.
Conditions in the northern part of the island
The economic situation in the northern part of Cyprus is
weak. Real output growth of its population (around 200,000
people) was reduced by 3.6% in 2001, following a 0.6% fall
in 2000. Consequently, per capita income has continued to
decline in 2001, with the economic crisis aggravating the
income gap with the rest of the island. The GDP is estimated
around € 4,500 per capita in 2002. The northern part
of the island has no independent monetary policy and uses
the Turkish Lira as its currency. High inflation is imported
from Turkey. Trade is heavily dependent on the Turkish market.
The tourism potential remains largely under utilised. Turkish
Cypriots cannot benefit from the advantages stemming from
the Association Agreement. In 1994, the European Court of
Justice ruled that administrative co-operation "is
excluded with the authorities of an entity such as that
established in the northern part of Cyprus, which is recognised
neither by the Community nor by the Member States".
6. BILATERAL RELATIONS EU-CYPRUS
a. The accession process
The EU and Cyprus signed an Association Agreement in December
1972 that was complemented by a Protocol concluded in 1987.
It constitutes the legal framework for current EU-Cyprus
relations. A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), consisting
of members of the European Parliament and of the Chamber
of Representatives of Cyprus, was set up in 1991. It meets
twice a year. Cyprus also benefits from regional and horizontal
measures under the MEDA Programme (principal financial instrument
of the European Union for the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean
Partnership). The office of the Delegation of the European
Commission was opened in Nicosia in May 1990.
The Republic of Cyprus applied for membership in July 1990
In 1993 the Commission concluded that the application was
made in the name of the whole island. On 6 March 1995, the
General Affairs Council Conclusion confirmed Cyprus's suitability
for membership and established that accession negotiations
with Cyprus would start 6 months after the end of the Intergovernmental
Conference (IGC). A structured dialogue was initiated in
order to discuss areas where Cyprus had to make efforts
to adapt to the EU's legal system and policies. The European
Council in Luxembourg (1997) confirmed that accession negotiations
would begin in spring 1998. The Turkish Cypriots were invited
to be included in the Cypriot delegation. The accession
negotiations started on 30 March 1998.
Substantial accession negotiations, particularly on the
adoption and implementation of the EU legislation began
in November 1998 and were concluded at the Copenhagen European
Council in December 2002. The accession negotiations included
29 sectorial chapters, the chapter on "institutions"
and on the chapter "miscellaneous". Transitional
arrangements have been agreed upon in nine chapters. In
parallel the European Commission drew up each autumn a Regular
Report on the progress of each of the candidate countries
on the way towards accession. In these reports, the Commission
services identify the remaining shortcomings and tasks to
be carried out prior to accession to meet the political,
economic and legal "Copenhagen criteria" for accession,
with particular emphasis on enforcement and institutional
capacity. The latest Regular Report on Cyprus was published
on 9 October 2002.
The European Council in Brussels of March 2003 regretted
that the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General
to find a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem
have failed. The EU strongly supports the continuation of
the Secretary General's mission of good offices and of negotiations
on the basis of his proposals. It urges all parties concerned
to spare no effort towards a just, viable and functional
settlement and, in particular, the Turkish Cypriot leadership
to reconsider its position. The European Council reaffirms
its decisions taken at Copenhagen where it confirmed that
Cyprus would be admitted as new Member State to the European
Union on 1 May 2004 and underlined its strong preference
for accession by a united Cyprus. The EU is ready to accommodate
the terms of a political settlement in the accession of
a united Island in line with the principles on which the
European Union is founded. A specific protocol on Cyprus
is attached to the Accession Treaty which foresees that
in the absence of a settlement, the application of the acquis
shall be suspended to the northern part of the island until
the Council decides unanimously otherwise, on the basis
of a proposal by the Commission. In other words: the door
is open for the integration of the Turkish Cypriots in the
b. Financial co-operation and
In the past, four financial protocols on financial co-operation
were signed between the EU and the Republic of Cyprus, covering
a period of 22 years (1978 till 1999). During this time,
€ 210 Million were made available under the form of
loans (152 M€), grants (51 M€), and risk capital
(7 M€). The main target sectors were Small and Medium
Enterprises, Environment, Energy and Transport.
Since 2000, pre-accession aid is available to Cyprus for
an amount of 57 M€ to be programmed over 5 years (2000-2004).
The new Financial Regulation on the "implementation
of the pre-accession strategy" for Cyprus (and Malta)
will ensure, like for all Candidate Countries of Central
and Eastern Europe, that assistance is targeted towards
pre-accession investment priorities, institution-building
priorities and support in economic and social cohesion.
Additionally, the regulation foresees to support "any
operations to contribute to the reconciliation of the two
Cypriot communities." This support is provided via
what is called the "bi-communal" projects. For
all harmonisation operations, co-financing is being sought
being it national (compulsory), or with other donors (Member
States, International Financing Institutions).
In 2000, the € 9 million available for Cyprus were
broken down for harmonisation projects (5 M€), for
bi-communal projects (3 M€), for co-financing Cyprus
participation in 3 Education and Training Community Programmes
(1 M€). In the year 2001, the EU provided € 11,5
million to support projects for institution building, adoption
of the acquis, and bi-communal activities, and to help meet
the costs of Cyprus' participation in EC programmes and
Agencies. In 2002, while bi-communal projects focused on
the civil society (Business Support Programme and Small
Projects Fund, for 2,6 M€), harmonisation projects
targeted sectors such as agriculture, telecom, maritime
transport and statistics. In total € 11,5 million were
also programmed that year for Cyprus. Finally with 2003,
the Commission will normally end its pre-accession support
to Cyprus with a package of € 12 million to be approved
in the first quarter of 2003. This programming exercise
is likely to have a strong focus on both environment and
economic and social cohesion. Cyprus also participates in,
and benefits from, MEDA funded multi-country and horizontal
programmes, and from the TAIEX instrument.
While 2001 was the year of decentralisation of EU assistance
to Cyprus (on the PHARE model), 2003 will probably be the
year of extended decentralisation ("EDIS: Extended
Decentralisation System") of the EU assistance to the
island; an additional step in the process of decentralisation
allowing Cyprus to assume a larger responsibility over the
implementation of EU pre-accession assistance, in line with
the orientations of the future Structural Funds. Cyprus
should be the first of the Candidate Countries to be granted
such autonomy by the Commission.
7. CYPRUS DATA SHEET
||According to the Cypriot government the
total population living in territories under its control
is 705,500 (2002). The population in the north is estimated
at around 200,000, of which 87,000 are Turkish Cypriots
and the remaining are Turks originating from mainland
Turkey (30,000 Turkish military stationed in the island
||9,251 sq.km - about 37% of the Republic's
territory remains under Turkish control. 1.8% forms
part of the buffer zone along the cease-fire line, 5%
is covered by two UK sovereign base areas.
||The closest countries to this Mediterranean
island are Turkey, Greece, and Syria.
||70% urban population, 30% rural population
||Nicosia - the capital - has a population
of about 272,700; Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Kyrenia
, Famagusta and Morphou
||Greek and Turkish
||Greek Orthodox, Moslem, Armenian, Roman
||1 Cyprus Pound = 100 cents = 1.74 Euro
8. THE CYPRUS QUESTION IN THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL SUMMITS
The accession of Cyprus should benefit all communities and
help to bring about civil peace and reconciliation. The
accession negotiations will contribute positively to the
search for a political solution to the Cyprus problem through
the talks under the aegis of the United Nations which must
continue with a view to creating a bi-community, bi-zonal
federation. In this context, the European Council requests
that the willingness of the Government of Cyprus to include
representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community in the
accession negotiating delegation be acted upon. In order
for this request to be acted upon, the necessary contacts
will be undertaken by the Presidency and the Commission.
The European Council recalls that strengthening Turkey's
links with the European Union also depends on that country's
pursuit of the political and economic reforms on which it
has embarked, including the alignment of human rights standards
and practices on those in force in the European Union; respect
for and protection of minorities; the establishment of satisfactory
and stable relations between Greece and Turkey; the settlement
of disputes, in particular by legal process, including the
International Court of Justice; and support for negotiations
under the aegis of the UN on a political settlement in Cyprus
on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
The European Council confirms its support for the efforts
of the UN Secretary-General towards a comprehensive settlement
in Cyprus and in particular for the process being developed
by his Deputy Special Representative with the goal of reducing
tensions and promoting progress towards a just and lasting
settlement based on the relevant UNSC decisions.
The European Council welcomes the launch of the talks aiming
at a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem on 3
December in New York and expresses its strong support for
the UN Secretary-General's efforts to bring the process
to a successful conclusion. The European Council underlines
that a political settlement will facilitate the accession
of Cyprus to the European Union. If no settlement has been
reached by the completion of accession negotiations, the
Council's decision on accession will be made without the
above being a precondition. In this the Council will take
account of all relevant factors.
The European Council welcomed and strongly supports the
efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General to achieve
an overall agreement on the Cyprus problem consistent with
the UN Security Council Resolutions and to arrive at a positive
conclusion of the process initiated in December 1999. It
appeals to all the parties concerned to contribute to the
efforts made to this effect.
The European Council welcomes the recent meetings between
the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities
and would encourage them to continue their discussions with
a view to an overall solution under the auspices of the
United Nations consistent with the relevant resolutions
of the United Nations Security Council.
In respect of the accession of Cyprus, the Helsinki conclusions
are the basis of the European Union's position. The European
Union4s preference is still for the accession of a reunited
island. The European Council fully supports the efforts
of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and calls
upon the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot
communities to intensify and expedite their talks in order
to seize this unique window of opportunity for a comprehensive
settlement, consistent with the relevant UN Security Council
resolutions, it is to be hoped before the conclusion of
the negotiations. The European Union would accommodate the
terms of such a comprehensive settlement in the Treaty of
Accession in line with the principles on which the European
Union is founded: as a Member State, Cyprus will have to
speak with a single voice and ensure proper application
of European Union law. The European Union would make a substantial
financial contribution in support of the development of
the northern part of a reunited island.
The Union reiterates its preference for a reunited Cyprus
to join the European Union on the basis of a comprehensive
settlement, and urges the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and
Turkish Cypriot communities to seize the opportunity and
reach an agreement before the end of the accession negotiations
this year. The Union will continue to fully support the
substantial efforts of the Secretary-General of the United
Nations for reaching a settlement, consistent with the relevant
UN Security Council resolutions. The European Union will
accommodate the terms of such a comprehensive settlement
in the Treaty of Accession in line with the principles on
which the European Union is founded. In the absence of a
settlement, the decisions to be taken in December by the
Copenhagen European Council will be based on the conclusions
set out by the Helsinki European Council in 1999.
As the accession negotiations have been completed with Cyprus,
Cyprus will be admitted as a new Member State to the European
Union. Nevertheless the European Council confirms its strong
preference for accession to the European Union by a united
Cyprus. In this context it welcomes the commitment of the
Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots to continue to negotiate
with the objective of concluding a comprehensive settlement
of the Cyprus problem by 28 February 2003 on the basis of
the UNSG4s proposals. The European Council believes that
these proposals offer a unique opportunity to reach a settlement
in the coming weeks and urges the leaders of the Greek Cypriot
and Turkish Cypriot communities to seize this opportunity.
The Union recalls its willingness to accommodate the terms
of a settlement in the Treaty of Accession in line with
the principles on which the EU is founded. In case of a
settlement, the Council, acting by unanimity on the basis
of proposals by the Commission, shall decide upon adaptations
of the terms concerning the accession of Cyprus to the EU
with regard to the Turkish Cypriot community.
The European Council has decided that, in the absence of
a settlement, the application on the acquis to the northern
part of the island shall be suspended, until the Council
decides unanimously otherwise, on the basis of a proposal
by the Commission. Meanwhile, the Council invites the Commission,
in consultation with the government of Cyprus, to consider
ways of promoting economic development of the northern part
of Cyprus and bringing it closer to the Union.
The European Council regrets that the efforts of the United
Nations Secretary General to find a comprehensive settlement
of the Cyprus problem have failed. The EU strongly supports
the continuation of the Secretary General's mission of good
offices and of negotiations on the basis of his proposals.
It urges all parties concerned to spare no effort towards
a just, viable and functional settlement and, in particular,
the Turkish Cypriot leadership to reconsider its position.
The European Council reaffirms its decisions taken at Copenhagen
with regard to Cyprus' accession to the EU.
Partnership - November 13, 2001
Cyprus's Application for Membership
of the European Union - June 1993: