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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-06-24

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    After marathon negotiations, the 27 EU leaders agreed in Brussels the contents of a new reform treaty, while preparations for the intergovernmental conference to prepare the legal documents of the treaty will begin around the end of July.

    Cyprus was represented at the European Council by President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos.

    The EU leaders clinched the agreement to overhaul the 27-nation bloc after persuading Poland to end a disagreement that nearly brought the summit to a collapse.

    The leaders agreed to negotiate a reform treaty by the end of this year, to be ratified by mid-2009, replacing the EU constitution rejected in 2005 by French and Dutch voters.

    "If we had not achieved this today, we would have ended up in a rather disastrous situation because many would have felt they were pushed too far," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a news conference after the deal was achieved.

    The deal opened the way for further enlargement of the Union, she said, which would be impossible without reformed institutions. Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, who takes over the EU chair in July, said he hoped to have the treaty agreed as early as October.

    Leaders of several countries convinced Polish President Lech Kaczynski to back down after weeks of resistance and accept a compromise on voting rights in exchange for a long delay in their introduction.

    Chancellor Merkel fought to break Polish opposition to the treaty which it complained would cut Warsaw`s voting power and give more say to big countries, especially Germany.

    She eventually threatened to launch treaty negotiations without Warsaw`s consent, prompting a final effort for compromise.

    Poland settled for a deal that put off full application of the new decision-making procedure until 2017.

    The treaty will preserve key features of the constitution such as the creation of a long-term president of the Union and a foreign policy chief with increased powers.

    London secured an exemption from the application in Britain of a legally binding EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as the right not to join police and judicial cooperation.

    The leaders also agreed on a new position to run EU foreign policy, but without the constitution title of foreign minister. This will combine the existing jobs of foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who does mostly crisis management, and External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who controls the executive European Commission`s big aid budget.


    Cypriot House President and General Secretary of left-wing AKEL party, Demetris Christofias, said that what is necessary at the current phase of the Cyprus problem is to create the conditions for the resumption of full-fledged negotiations for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, stressing that this could be achieved through the implementation of the July 8 agreement.

    Addressing the annual Cyprus Wine Festival and Business Exhibition 2007 organised by Parikiaki newspaper in London, Christofias acknowledged that time works against a solution to the Cyprus issue, noting however that the Greek Cypriot side is seeking a functional and just, under the circumstances, solution.

    ``Unfortunately, the situation is not encouraging. The Cyprus problem is in a deadlock, which has been created by the intransigent and delaying stance of the Turkish side, which refuses to cooperate for a solution that will benefit the interests of Cyprus and its people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots,`` he said.

    According to Christofias, after the April 2004 referenda, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership have entrenched behind the approval of the Annan plan and with the excuse of wanting to end the so called isolation against the Turkish Cypriots, they are pursuing the upgrading of the structures of the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied areas since the 1974 invasion part of Cyprus, with the aim of its gradual recognition.

    ``The manifestation of Turkey`s delaying stance is its evasion from the July 8 agreement,`` achieved by Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in July 2006 in the presence of the then UN Undersecretary-General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari.

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