doc/93/5 - June 30, 1993
On 3 July 1990, the government of the Republic of Cyprus submitted
to the Council of the European Communities an application for
membership of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the
European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy
At its meeting on 17 September 1990, the Council noted the application
and decided to set in motion the procedures laid down in Article
98 of the ECSC Treaty, Article 237 of the EEC Treaty and Article
205 of the Euratom Treaty, asking the Commission to draw up an
opinion, as required by these provisions.
Applications have recently also been received from several EFTA
countries and from Malta, and an application was previously submitted
by Turkey. The Commission delivered its opinion on Turkey's application
in December 1989, followed by opinions on the applications of
Austria (August 1991), Sweden (July 1992), Finland (November 1992)
and Norway (March 1993). It is transmitting its opinion on the
application submitted by Malta simultaneously with this document.
The European Council concluded its discussion of the question
of enlargement at its Lisbon meeting on 26 and 27 June 1992 with
the following observations relating to the EFTA countries:
"The European Council considers that the EEA Agreement has
paved the way for opening enlargement negotiations with a view
to an early conclusion with EFTA countries seeking membership
of the European Union ... The official negotiations will be opened
immediately after the Treaty on European Union is ratified and
agreement has been achieved on the Delors II package."
In the light of the decisions taken by the European Council at
its Edinburgh meeting on 11 and 12 December 1992, enlargement
negotiations got under way in February 1993 with Austria, Finland
and Sweden, and in April 1993 with Norway.
As regards applications from other countries, the Lisbon conclusions
continue as follows:
"... The European Council considers that if the challenges
of a European Union composed of a larger number of Member States
are to be met successfully, parallel progress is needed as regards
the internal development of the Union and in preparation for membership
of other countries.
In this context the European Council discussed the applications
which have been submitted by Turkey, Cyprus and Malta. The European
Council agrees that each of these applications must be considered
on its merits.
Relations with Cyprus and Malta will be developed and strengthened
by building on the Association Agreements and their application
for membership and by developing the political dialogue."
The European Council which met in Copenhagen on 21-22 June 1993
"considered that its guidelines with regard to enlargement
with the EFTA countries shall be without prejudice to the situation
of other countries which have applied to join the Union. The Union
will consider each of these membership applications on its own
The European Council welcomed the Commission's intention to present
shortly its opinion on Malta and on Cyprus. These opinions will
be examined rapidly by the Council taking into consideration the
particular situation of each of the two countries".
Cyprus's geographical position, the deep-lying bonds which, for
two thousand years, have located the island at the very fount
of European culture and civilization, the intensity of the European
influence apparent in the values shared by the people of Cyprus
and in the conduct of the cultural, political, economic and social
life of its citizens, the wealth of its contacts of every kind
with the Community, all these confer on Cyprus, beyond all doubt,
its European identity and character and confirm its vocation to
belong to the Community.
A political settlement of the Cyprus question would serve only
to reinforce this vocation and strengthen the ties which link
Cyprus to Europe. At the same time, a settlement would open the
way to the full restoration of human rights and fundamental freedoms
throughout the island and encourage the development of pluralist
The Commission is convinced that the result of Cyprus's accession
to the Community would be increased security and prosperity and
that it would help bring the two communities on the island closer
together. If there were to be a political settlement, the prospect
of the progressive re-establishment of fundamental liberties would
help overcome the inevitable practical difficulties which would
arise during the transition period in regard to the adoption of
the relevant Community legislation. In regard to economic aspects,
this opinion has shown that, in view of the progress towards a
customs union achieved thus far, the adoption of the acquis communautaire
by Cyprus will pose no insurmountable problems. The Commission
is not underestimating the problems that the economic transition
poses. However, the economy of the southern part of the island
has demonstrated an ability to adapt and seems ready to face the
challenge of integration provided that the work already started
on reforms and on opening up to the outside world is maintained,
notably in the context of the customs union. This opinion also
has also shown that there will be a greater chance of narrowing
the development gap between north and south in event of Cyprus's
integration with the Community.
The government of the Republic of Cyprus shares this conviction.
Even though they object to the conditions under which the application
for membership was made, the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot community
are fully conscious of the economic and social benefits that integration
with Europe would bring their community.
This opinion has also shown that Cyprus's integration with the
Community implies a peaceful, balanced and lasting settlement
of the Cyprus question - a settlement which will make it possible
for the two communities to be reconciled, for confidence to be
re-established and for their respective leaders to work together.
While safeguarding the essential balance between the two communities
and the right of each to preserve its fundamental interests, the
institutional provisions contained in such a settlement should
create the appropriate conditions for Cyprus to participate normally
in the decision-making process of the European Community and in
the correct application of Community law throughout the island.
In view of all the above and in the expectation of significant
progress in the talks currently being pursued under the auspices
of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Commission
feels that a positive signal should be sent to the authorities
and the people of Cyprus confirming that the Community considers
Cyprus as eligible for membership and that as soon as the prospect
of a settlement is surer, the Community is ready to start the
process with Cyprus that should eventually lead to its accession.
The United Nations Secretary-General is aware that he can count
on the Community's support in his continued endeavours to produce
a political settlement of the Cyprus question.
Even before such a settlement is forthcoming, the Commission
undertakes to use all the instruments available under the Association
Agreement to contribute, in close cooperation with the Cypriot
government, to the economic, social and political transition of
Cyprus towards integration with the Community.
If the Council agrees, and in the hope of facilitating the conduct
of the future accession negotiations, the Commission is willing
to begin immediately talks with the government of Cyprus. These
talks would serve to familiarize the Cypriot authorities with
all the elements that constitute the acquis communautaire, partly
in order to allow them to prepare their negotiating position under
the best possible conditions and partly to permit an assessment
of the need for any technical cooperation and assistance that
their country might require to adopt and implement Community legislation
and the policies and instruments that will be needed for its integration
and to prepare the way, in due course, for the north of the island
to catch up economically.
The Commission also undertakes to examine the issue of Cyprus's
future institutions and their compatibility with the requirements
of active participation in the day-to-day running of the Community
in the event of accession.
The Community must ensure, moreover, that the general assessment
to be carried out in the context of the 1996 intergovernmental
conference results in greater efficiency in the operation of the
institutions of an enlarged Community - and one that could well
be enlarged further - while at the same time providing Cyprus,
and any other new Member state of a similar size, with a guarantee
that it will receive appropriate treatment in the decision-making
process and in the discharging of its responsibilities.
Lastly, the Commission must envisage the possibility of the failure
of the intercommunal talks to produce a political settlement of
the Cyprus question in the foreseeable future, in spite of the
endeavours of the United Nations Secretary-General. Should this
eventuality arise, the Commission feels that the situation should
be reassessed in view of the positions adopted by each party in
the talks and that the question of Cyprus's accession to the Community
should be reconsidered in January 1995.