No alternative than reunification of Cyprus
European commissioner for enlargement said on Tuesday that there was no alternative to concluding a comprehensive settlement and reuniting Cyprus.
Stefan Fule's article on Cyprus ahead of his visit to the island was published in some press organs.
In the article, Fule said the status quo was not a sustainable option; there was no alternative to concluding a comprehensive settlement and reuniting the island.
"The price of a non-solution is much higher than that of any fair compromise," Fule said.
Fule said the Greek Cypriot administration would take over the rotating presidency of the European Union on July 1, and expressed belief that the presidency could benefit all Cypriots and increase the chances for a successful solution to the Cyprus problem.
"In my contacts with the Turkish Cypriot community I have noticed a certain concern that the Council Presidency will lead to cementing the status quo in Cyprus to the detriment of the Turkish Cypriot community. The argument goes that the Presidency will strengthen in the context of the settlement talks the position of the Greek Cypriot community in a way that it will be less willing to engage in compromises," he said.
Fule said he considered them to be misperception, and noted, "I am indeed convinced that this Presidency will be conducive to changing rather than cementing the status quo. The EU and its Member States will become more aware of the situation on the island."
"They will better understand the challenges faced by a de facto divided Member State. Any visit to Cyprus reminds Europe that there is unfinished business on the island, a wound within the EU that needs to be healed. This should inject a new sense of urgency to solve the Cyprus problem," he said.
Fule said, "the status quo is not a sustainable option; there is no alternative to concluding a comprehensive settlement and reuniting the island. The price of a non-solution is much higher than that of any fair compromise. The newly discovered natural resources in the Mediterranean that can benefit Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike should work as an additional catalyst to make a united island a reality!"
"As regards the Turkish Cypriot concern of being excluded and ignored, I notice the opposite. Already during visits in preparation for the Presidency many EU visitors have crossed the Green Line and met with Turkish Cypriot interlocutors. We have also noticed an increased interest of Member States representatives in the EU aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community as indicated by project visits, including at ministerial level and from Members of national parliaments," Fule said.
Fule said, "I am therefore sure that as a result of the Presidency, the spotlight will also be put on the Turkish Cypriot community and on what the EU is doing to help this community to get closer to the EU, reduce its isolation and prepare for reunification. This help will continue until Cyprus is reunited."
"Another reason to look forward to the next six months is that every Council Presidency is all about compromises. The Presidency is not a means to impose any national interests. On the contrary, it is a service delivered to the entire EU by helping to reach compromises on numerous issues in many areas," he said.
Fule also said, "a Presidency means hard work in the engine room rather than at the command bridge, to advance the EU agenda, and any successful Council Presidency deserves a diploma in the art of reaching compromises. My vision is to see a successful Council Presidency followed by a successful conclusion of a Cyprus settlement. This will require serious compromises by the leaders of both communities for which they need to prepare the public. As President Barroso pointed out during his visit to Cyprus in 2009: 'The challenge is to look at compromise not as a defeat, as losing something, but rather as winning something.' A solution to the Cyprus problem would clearly create a win-win situation, not only for Cyprus, but also for the European Union as a whole."