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South asks EU to clarify funding details for North Cyprus

3 December 2013

The South’s House Committee on Development Plans and Public Expenditure Control has asked the European Commission for details as to how funds that were allocated to the Turkish Cypriot community are used for development on land that belongs to Greek Cypriots.

Committee Chairman, George Georgiou, speaking after a meeting with the participation of the Member of the European Court of Auditors, Lazaros Lazarou, who presented the European Court of Auditors’ Annual Report for 2012, referred to the absorption of European funds by the Republic of Cyprus that amounted to 62% in 2012, noting that in the same year, Cyprus contributed 1.1 billion euro and took back 1 billion euro.

He said (South) Cyprus absorbed 79% of the Fisheries Fund, 69% of the European Regional Development Fund, 65% of the European Social Fund and 50% of the Cohesion Fund.

Georgiou further said that for the period 2007-2013, the European funds for programmes earmarked for Turkish Cypriots amounted to 269 million euro. “We have asked if there is any control on how these funds are being allocated and to what purpose,” said Georgiou.

The MP said that according to regulations governing the allocation of these funds, there is a specific clause that underlines these funds should not be used for development on Turkish occupied properties. The regulations also note that the co-funding of projects on properties in the North require the approval of the properties’ owners and the majority of these properties belong to Greek Cypriots. “No such approval has been given by anyone”, he said.

Since 78% of the immovable property in the North belongs to Greek Cypriots, what the European Commission needs to tell the South’s House Committee is if any funds, even a single euro, have been allocated in violation of the regulation, Georgiou told reporters.

“According to a report by two members of the court on how the funds were used from February 2006 to November 2011, 165 million euro was spent for reconciliation and confidence building measures and 27 million euro for a desalination plant that has not been constructed. “What we have not received is an answer as to where the 179 million euro to the Turkish Cypriots have been allocated and to which sectors”, said Georgiou.

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