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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-03-19

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus not seeking EU free entrance, says FM
  • [02] Greek and Turkish trade unions join forces
  • [03] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [04] Government backs good-will measures
  • [05] Euro MPs criticise EU Council

  • 1450:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus not seeking EU free entrance, says FM

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- Cyprus does not seek a free entrance ticket through its European Union (EU) membership, Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides stressed here Wednesday and noted its only ambition is to become an equal member of the Union.

    Michaelides was addressing a meeting of the EU-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), which concluded today.

    The Cypriot Minister appealed to the European Parliament, the EU Council and the Commission to effectively contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem, to enable Greek and Turkish Cypriots construct a peaceful and secure future.

    In his speech, the FM referred to the recent postponement of the EU- Cyprus structured dialogue, in Brussels, following a disagreement of the EU Council to reach a common statement on the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the island's accession talks.

    However, he said he was pleased that during his recent tour of six European capitals, his colleagues assured him that accession talks will begin with the Cyprus government as scheduled, six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).

    "What is more important is that this is now the stance of the '15', as expressed at the informal EU Council meeting at Apeldoorn," the Netherlands, last week, Michaelides added.

    He noted this common view is "very clear" and "cannot have different interpretations."

    The FM recalled that the first phase of the European Community -Cyprus customs union agreement will be concluded at the end of 1997 and declared the Greek Cypriot side's readiness to proceed to the second phase and become an EU full member.

    Cyprus applied for EU full membership in 1990. It signed an association agreement with the European Community in 1972 and a customs union agreement in 1987.

    Michaelides said Cyprus will very soon submit proposals aiming to harmonise its legislation and policies with the acquis communautaire, in a bid to implement most of them by the time accession talks begin.

    "We are fully aware that our accession to the EU does not aim at securing a free entrance ticket", the FM told the delegates and stressed "our ambition is to become an equal member."

    The Minister made special reference to four sectors of harmonisation with the acquis communautaire.

    He referred to measures taken or planned on the free movement of people, working permits, social policy and education, the common policy on transport, the environment and regional policy.

    On the latter, Michaelides expressed Cyprus' full support to the EU campaign, noting the Turkish Cypriots could have the major benefit from several EU projects.

    He said it was "noteworthy" that Cyprus was 98 per cent in line with the EU, in 1996, in comparison with 66 per cent, in 1994.

    The FM said he looks forward his attendance at the EU Council of Ministers, to be held mid-April in Malta, and expressed the conviction that a "collective re-evaluation of present progress will lead to a renewed impetus and enhanced cooperation."

    Cyprus has been told it can expect EU accession talks to start, probably in 1998, and nine countries from eastern and central Europe are to be judged on suitability to start negotiations.

    The Foreign Minister also referred to the ongoing proximity talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides, under UN aegis, that will allow face-to-face negotiations between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, in a bid to reach a comprehensive solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    He noted the "increased interest" of the EU and the US to help these efforts and stressed the need for a coordination of actions so that "the outcome of those efforts will be productive."

    Michaelides said the "key" for a change in the Turkish side's intransigent stance is how "decisive and substantive" the involvement of all those who are presently interested in reaching a Cyprus solution.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1500:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Greek and Turkish trade unions join forces

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- Greek and Turkish Cypriot trade unions today declared their unanimous approval of Cyprus' accession to the European Union (EU) which will bring benefits to workers and the people of Cyprus as a whole.

    The joint declaration issued at the end of the three-day second All- Cyprus Trade Union Forum Study Conference, stressed the need to safeguard within a future federated state, one system of employment and labour relations, one social insurance system, unified standards of wages and salaries, the freedom of association and movement throughout the island and protection from discrimination of any kind.

    The 16 trade unions from both communities stated these objectives take on a heightened importance given Cyprus' course towards EU membership.

    The declaration also noted the willingness on the part of the trade unions to expand their contacts and broaden the spectrum of their cooperation by organising working groups on social security, wage, industrial relations and educational issues.

    The trade unions also reaffirmed their previous joint declaration of 18 January, 1995, in which they demanded a quick and just solution to the Cyprus problem based on the 1977 and 1979 high level agreements between the two communities and relevant UN Security Council resolutions on the matter, respect for the human rights of all the island's citizens and the establishment of a unitary economy devoid of any type of discrimination.

    The declaration urged international and regional trade unions, the UN, the EU, Cypriot political leaders and all other interested parties to facilitate a peaceful solution to the Cyprus issue.

    On this last day of the study conference held in the government- controlled part of Nicosia, European Commission Trade Union Administrator, Ivor Roberts, elaborated on the issue of EU social policy and its implications on Cyprus' future accession to the EU.

    He noted that Cyprus must take on board all EU legislation such as the aquis communautaire in order to smooth out the transition period from now until full EU membership.

    Roberts suggested that Cyprus adopt the "glide path approach" to harmonising its legislation with the EU by taking existing EU legislation and making it the basis of its own legislation.

    He pointed out that two parallel economic systems have developed on the island as a result of division, which need realignment in order to come in line with EU principles.

    The European Commission official said Cyprus has some work to do in altering its legislation to allow trade unions to become more involved in policy matters, particularly those affecting workers.

    He said local industry will inevitably face some difficulties in European free markets, and trade unions should work hand-in-hand with the government to counter the possibility of lay-offs by offering worker re- training programmes and other measures.

    Roberts told CNA the European Commission will act as a liaison between the Cyprus government and the EU in the harmonisation of legislation, since the existence of two economies on the island make things more complex than what the EU has to deal with in Eastern Europe.

    Representative from the Greek Cypriot Trade Union POAS, Kyriakos Nathanael, said the Forum is proof that Greek and Turkish Cypriots share the wholehearted wish to work together in a common homeland in achieving equal working conditions for both communities.

    General Secretary of the Greek Cypriot Trade Union SEK, Dimitris Kittenis said the only hope for peace is a united Cyprus and that EU membership will entrench human rights for everyone on the island.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA MH/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1530:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    78.82 (-0.72)
    
    Highest: 82.46 (21/1/97)
    Lowest : 73.90 (30/1/97)
    
    Sectural Indices
    
    Banks                                  88.72 (-0.56)
    Approved Investment Companies          66.20 (-1.24)
    Insurance Companies                    59.66 (-2.83)
    Industrial Companies                   82.84 (+0.23)
    Tourist Industries                     62.41 (-0.89)
    Commercial Companies                   53.75 (-0.65)
    Other Companies                        55.99 (-1.10)
    
    Trading Volume                         CYP 1288402.637
    
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting.
    CNA MM/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1755:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Government backs good-will measures

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- The Greek Cypriot side will do its best to see that the UN-sponsored proximity talks are carried through successfully.

    "The proximity talks are underway and our side will try and will do all it can to see this process succeed," Foreign Minister, Alecos Michaelides, said here today.

    The talks are carried out by UN resident representative Gustave Feissel and President Glafcos Clerides on one hand and Turkish Cypriot side on the other.

    Earlier today Feissel said both communities are expected to make good- will gestures to give a push to on-going efforts to move forward.

    "It is sensible to assume that certain moves should be made to create a better climate, and facilitate the whole process," Michaelides told the press, but noted that such moves would not determine the effectiveness of the process.

    He also said these moves could be made by both sides or unilaterally.

    "Creating an increasingly improved climate is helpful," he added.

    He pointed out that political will shall be very crucial to the course of the ongoing talks.

    "We have the political will to move ahead to direct negotiations," Michaelides concluded.

    CNA KN/MCH/MM/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1810:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Euro MPs criticise EU Council

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- The Cyprus-European Union Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) has criticised a decision by the EU Council to postpone the Cyprus-EU structured dialogue and has reconfirmed the start of accession talks six months after the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Conference.

    A statement issued by the JPC after a two-day meeting here said "parliamentarians strongly criticised the postponement of the EU-Cyprus political dialogue" and "insisted on the pursuit of this dialogue."

    It also reiterated the JPC position in relation to Cyprus' accession to the EU, stressing that "it must not be conditional on a solution to the (Cyprus) problem" and that "the beginning of negotiations would be a catalyst for a peace settlement."

    Expressing support for bi-communal projects and information activities addressed to the Turkish Cypriots about the benefits of accession, the statement pointed out "it goes without saying that accession negotiations would be conducted by the government of the Republic of Cyprus."

    Meanwhile in a joint press conference held, here, today, by JPC Co- Chairmen Philippe Monfils and Tassos Papadopoulos, Cyprus' "impressive progress" towards harmonisation with the acquis communautaire was also noted.

    Monfils made special reference to Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash's refusal to allow European parliamentarians to visit the Greek Cypriot enclaved in the Turkish-occupied part of the island, and described it as "scandalous and unacceptable."

    He said Denktash had asked the Euro-MPs to meet the self-styled minister of the illegal entity, unilaterally established in the northern Turkish-occupied part of the island.

    Stressing that Denktash's precondition was turned down, as accepting it would have implied recognition of his illegal regime, he described it as "scandalous" in view of efforts underway towards a Cyprus settlement.

    Monfils expressed opposition to German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel's position that Cyprus cannot join the EU prior to a solution of its political problem.

    "There were other countries", he said,"who faced similar problems but became EU members", citing as an example that of Britain and Ireland.

    On his part, Papadopoulos said the JPC discussed to a great length the position outlined by certain EU member-states at last month's Council meeting, regarding participation of Turkish Cypriots in accession negotiations. The absence of a common stance on this issue resulted in the postponement of the structure dialogue meeting.

    Papadopoulos reiterated the government position that it could examine ways in which Turkish Cypriots could participate, provided that does not constitute recognition of the illegal occupation regime.

    CNA MCH/MM/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA END
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