The issue of of Turkish Cypriot representation at the European Parliament (EP) was discussed at a conference organised at the EP under the title “Economic Prospects of a Cyprus Settlement”.
Addressing the conference, Ryszard Czarnecki, EP’s Vice President and Polish MEP with the European Conservative and Reformist Group, suggested the implementation of the formula which is valid at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) regarding representation of the Turkish Cypriots at the EP.
The conference was hosted by Ilhan Kucuk, Bulgarian MEP of Turkish origin with the Liberals and Democrats’ Alliance for Europe (ALDE). Omer Gokcekus, economic adviser to President Mustafa Akinci and Praxoulla Antoniadou Kyriakou, Greek Cypriot economist, addressed the conference.
According to Armagan Candan, MP for the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Hasan Tacoy, independent MP and Zeki Celer representative of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), who was a member of the TRNC Assembly delegation that held contacts with EP and EU officials in Brussels, Fikri Toros, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, MEPs, foreign missions’ representatives and officials from the EU Council and the EU Commission attended the conference.
Czarnecki said that it was satisfactory that both sides in Cyprus are conducting result-oriented, intensified negotiations and argued that a comprehensive and viable solution in Cyprus will benefit not only the island but the Eastern Mediterranean area as well. He said that the Turkish Cypriots’ preparation for the EU acquis is of great importance in order to have a smooth transition to unification, and the ad hoc committee established by the Commission is extremely useful within this framework. He noted that the Turkish Cypriots are not represented at the EP and that this problem should be overcome.
In her address to the conference, Kyriakou said that studies carried out during the period 2008-2010, predict that with a solution in Cyprus, the income of each household will increase by 12 thousand euro and 33 thousand new jobs will be created due to the growth in the tourism, construction, transport and manufacturing sectors. She noted that significant financial savings will be secured due to the reduction of the spending on armaments. Foreign investments will increase and additional income will be secured from exporting natural gas discovered offshore Cyprus, to Europe.
Addressing the conference, Gokcekus said that the solution will offer great opportunities for the Turkish Cypriots, but the accession process of the Turkish Cypriot side to the EU has not been completed and therefore a series of differences exist between the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot business environments. He argued that the EU has a special duty on the issue of harmonising laws and practices in the TRNC with the acquis.