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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-07-03
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 HOUSE DEBATE - RATIFICATION OF LISBON TREATYCyprus House of Representatives ratified Thursday the Lisbon Treaty, after a debate which lasted over five hours.
Opposition right-wing Democratic Rally party DISY, Democratic Party, Social Democrats EDEK Movement and the European Party voted in favour of the Treaty.
Ruling left - wing AKEL party voted against the ratification of the Treaty.
Ecologists - Environmentalists Movement MP abstained.
In total 31 parliamentarians voted in favour of the ratification, 18 against and 1 abstained.
During the morning session, representatives of the six parliamentary parties delivered their speeches. In the afternoon session, the leaders of the parliamentary parties took the floor.
Cyprus is the 20th EU member state which ratifies the Lisbon Treaty, which has been and rejected by the Irish people in a referendum last month.
In his speech, AKEL parliamentary representative Nicos Katsourides, said that his party, which voted against the Treaty, deems that the content of the Treaty is not beneficial for the people of Europe, and especially the labour force.
He called upon the leaders of Europe and the bureaucracy in Brussels to realize that it is high time for them to abandon Neo-liberalism and to proceed with substantive changes for the benefit of the people of Europe, especially the working people, the youth and the pensioners.
Among the negative provision of the Treaty is, according to Katsourides, the attempt to institutionalize the neo-liberalistic model of economic development, the abolition of unanimity in decision-making process, the rotating system for the European Commissioners.
Having as a pretext the improvement of competition and viability of economy, we deem that attacks against social security systems will be intensified, he said.
AKEL, he added, will work so that the leaders of Europe bring those necessary changes to the Treaty that would not trigger off a negative reaction on behalf of the people or the states.
President of the right wing Democratic Rally party (DISY) Nicos Anastasiades said that his party had paved the way for the accession of Cyprus to the EU and thus it has a clear stance towards the Treaty.
``Our party led Cyprus to the EU. Our responsible stance, as an opposition party, has allowed Cyprus to join the eurozone and today our responsible stance will again help Cyprus send a very positive message to the rest of Europe, he said.
Anastasiades said that the EU is ``a power of democracy and not a threat for democracy`` and added, The process of European integration is necessary for the safety, the progress, the welfare of each European citizen and it is not something that is being imposed on the citizens for political reasons.
He noted that the great prospect for Cyprus is a reunified Cyprus in a united and democratic Europe, which will constantly develop, opening new roads. This is the message we would like to convey today with our positive vote, he said.
Anastasiades added ``we would like Cyprus to have a voice in Europe and a positive contribution to all issues regarding the European family``.
``Only by doing this, will Cyprus forge alliances and establish a credibility which will allow us to promote issues that concern us, he concluded.
Democratic Party (DIKO) parliamentary representative Andreas Angelides said that every new institution concentrates various views and interpretations, as something unknown as regards is effectiveness concerning the 27 EU members.
He said that brainstorming is still going on in the EU as regards the Treaty. Furthermore, he noted that ``we can hope for a future Constitutional Treaty that will be the result of knowledge acquired by the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty. We deem that there is hope that citizens will be progressively able to demand further development and formation of a right Constitutional Treaty for the peoples of Europe,`` he added.
He noted that in a Union of 27 member states it is not easy to reach unanimous convergences, and so steps towards any amendment must be small with a view to achieve new political accomplishments, as a Europe of rights and values, of freedom, solidarity and security.
Angelides expressed hope that with the Lisbon Treaty, Europe will acquire a strong voice that will be heard worldwide.
The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty is a positive reply to the evolution of the European Union, Social Democrats Movement EDEK leader Yiannakis Omirou said.
``Our positive vote means giving our consent to Europes course into the future, he said in his speech at the House Plenary. He added that the positive vote of his party means exploiting the possibilities for improvement and change in the future as Europe is developing.
Cyprus, he noted, has joined its prospects with the prospects of 460 million Europeans to create a future of prosperity and social solidarity for a peaceful future.
For the Cypriot people, the EU is our natural geopolitical and cultural space. In this space we seek political support and we aim to create the environment to promote our national interests for the survival of our people, Omirou added.
Speaking before the House of Representatives Plenary session, the President of the European Party Demetris Syllouris said his party would approve the Treaty of Lisbon because Cyprus national interests are better promoted by enhancing European integration.
Despite the Treatys weakness and inefficiencies, we are convinced that European integration promotes effectively the national interests of our country, he said, and added, Cyprus accession to the EU has given us confidence, political and diplomatic tools, and international clout. In our struggle for freedom and survival, we need the European Union to meet global challenges and gain international political and economic clout.
Syllouris pointed out that the Treaty of Lisbon is not the constitution for Europe which the European Party wished it to be, but it is a much improved treaty than the Treaty of Nice. It is a political compromise that leaves room for improvement in the future, he added.
The Treaty of Lisbon, Syllouris said, aims to enhance the efficiency of European policies, the transparency on EU institutions and the involvement of the European citizen in the Unions decision-making process. Syllouris stressed that the Treaty promotes the principles of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and the welfare of its citizens.
General Secretary of the Ecologists and Environmentalists Movement Giorgos Perdikis called for amendments on the content of the Lisbon Treaty, saying that there is room for improvement.
He described as crime against democracy the fact that the leaders of the EU chose to proceed without taking into consideration the citizens views, adding that the EU leaders are responsible for the ignorance and the lack of interest on behalf of European citizens as regards the Treaty.
He expressed disappointment for the fact that his Movements proposal to organize a referendum for the Treaty in Cyprus had been rejected. According to Perdikis, a referendum on the Treaty would have a special political importance in Cyprus.
``A referendum among the legitimate citizens of the island, would restore the law order, which unfortunately was overthrown by the logic of the separate referenda in 2004. Our people, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites, Latins, through the single referendum, would forge their sovereignty as a united entity, he concluded.
 FM - ISRAEL - CYPRUS QUESTIONMinister of Foreign Affairs Marcos Kyprianou concluded a working visit in Israel during which he briefed his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni and Jerusalem Patriarch Theophilos III over the latest developments regarding the Cyprus problem.
According to diplomatic sources, during his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Livni, the Cypriot FM also discussed bilateral and EU issues in view of the Paris Mediterranean Union Summit.
Livni briefed Kyprianou over the latest developments of the Middle East peace process.
 CYPRUS - EUROPEAN SHOTGUN CHAMPIONSHIPSCyprus will host the European Shotgun Championships on July 5-14, the last shooting-sport event before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
A press release issued by the Cyprus Shooting Sport Federation says that a total of 400 athletes from 40 countries will compete in the Trap, Skeet and Double Trap disciplines. The Championships will take place at the Nicosia Olympic Shooting Range, which hosted the international Cyprus Grand Prix last March.
The national teams of Greece Italy and Finland have already arrived in Cyprus and began their encounter with the installations of the Olympic Shooting Range, while the rest of the teams are due to arrive by Sunday.
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