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20th anniversary of Cyprus’ accession to the European Union

Address by the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, at the event for the 20th anniversary of Cyprus’ accession to the European Union, yesterday

I wish to address four main points.

First and foremost, which I have mentioned several times during these last days and will not tire of repeating it, our accession to the European Union (EU) in 2004, was the most significant achievement of the Republic of Cyprus since its establishment in 1960. It has positively affected all aspects of our daily life.

The second point I wish to bring to your attention this evening is the fact that as EU Member States we should not travel to Brussels – and many of the Government’s Ministers are here – only to discuss the Cyprus problem or the Euro-Turkish relations. Certainly not. Brussels impact on our daily lives and one of the most crucial objectives of our governance, discussed in our first Cabinet meeting, is that by going to Brussels we take part in EU decision making and we are not just mere spectators.

My third point is that precisely because the EU is key to our country, I would like to take this opportunity tonight to call on people to participate en masse in the elections for members of the European Parliament. A high participation rate from our country will send a powerful message to Brussels about how genuinely and significantly we approach the EU. And since we as a State, and I am certain the Parliament and the parties as well consider in the same way the importance of the EU, the same goes for all of you, the Cypriot people, this must be interpreted into a high participation rate in the coming elections.

My fourth point, I simply urge you –I do not need to mention the benefits of the EU– to consider how our country could have faced so many challenges since 2004 had we not been a member state of the EU. Let me confine myself to the Covid-19 pandemic –our Commissioner is with us tonight– and how our small country, in the crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic, could have secured the vaccines needed for the Cypriot people had we not been an EU Member State. It would not only have been extremely challenging; it would have potentially been impossible. There are plenty of such examples to refer to.

I conclude by thanking the European Commission Representation and the European Parliament Offices in Cyprus. I have to say that coming to this event from two other ones, I could not have imagined it would be so successful. Congratulations are deserved.

Famagusta Gazette