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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 02-07-01
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Monday, 1 July 2002
 Cyprus and Italy sign cooperation agreementsCyprus and Italy signed a cooperation agreement to combat organized crime, the illegal movement of narcotics, money laundering and illegal migration.
The agreement was signed by the Minister of Justice and Public Order Mr Nicos Koshis, on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus, and by the Minister of the Interior of Italy, Mr Claudio Scajola, on behalf of Italy.
According to the agreement, the Republic of Cyprus will make available the facilities at one of its ports to ships belonging to the Italian Navy and to Italian Law Enforcement Agencies as well, in order to enable patrols of the High Seas in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Moreover, the Minister of the Interior Dr Andreas Panagiotou signed with his Italian counterpart an agreement on the readmission of persons illegally entering and/or staying in the territory of the two countries.
Mr Koshis and Dr Panagiotou, briefed the Italian Minister on the efforts of Cyprus to combat illegal migration and its preparation to safeguard the boarders of the European Union in the Middle East when Cyprus accedes to the EU.
During the talks between the three Ministers, the programmed creation of a European Border Police Force was discussed, as well as Cyprus' willingness to cooperate in this direction, both before and after its accession.
 The European Union will satisfy certain requests by Cyprus regarding the chapter on AgricultureThe chapter on Agriculture was examined during the work of the 17th Meeting of the Inter - Governmental Conference for the Accession of Cyprus to the European Union, at Deputy level, held in Brussels on 28th June 2002.
The President of the European Council Mr Francisco Javier Conde de Saro praised the Spanish Presidency for allowing the completion of difficult chapters of the Acquis Communautaire during the first six months of 2002, as well as the work of Cyprus in achieving great progress in its accession negotiations process. He also expressed the hope that Cyprus may one of the new EU member states.
Mr Saro underlined that the European Union must decide by autumn on the basis of the suggestions made by the European Commission and expressed the belief that by then Cyprus should complete its EU accession negotiations. He also said that it might be possible to sign the Accession Treaties by Spring 2003.
Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, Mr Eneko Landaburu said that on the chapter on Agriculture, the Commission had decided to satisfy certain requests made by the Republic of Cyprus. In relation to the process of the accession negotiations, he stressed the need for all candidate countries to respect their commitments in adopting and implementing the Acquis Communautaire so that they can respond to the demands of enlargement.
For his part, Cyprus EU negotiator Mr George Vassiliou referred to the great progress made in the accession process during the term of the Spanish Presidency that allowed Cyprus to close four difficult chapters of the Acquis Communautaire. Mr Vassiliou briefed the Commission on the process Taxation Reform and stressed that Cyprus honours its commitment to the EU. Referring to the Spanish Presidency, Mr Vassiliou expressed satisfaction with the Conclusions of the European Council at Seville on Enlargement and with the specific reference to the Cyprus problem.
Mr Vassiliou availed himself of the opportunity to brief the participants of the Conference, on the process of the direct talks on Cyprus, underlining that, to date, no progress has been achieved. Mr Vassiliou pointed out that the Greek Cypriot side cooperates fully with the UN Secretary General, in the hope of reaching a solution that would allow the accession of a reunited Cyprus to the European Union.
 Seminar on industrial development and protection of the environmentA one-day seminar entitled "Industrial Development and Protection of the Environment" took place on 28 June at the Forum Hotel, organised jointly by the Federation of Employers and Industrialists (OEV), and the European Institute of Cyprus (EIC).
Addressing the seminar, the Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Mr Costas Themistocleous referred, inter alia, to the increasing scientific understanding of the impacts of human activities on the environment, and said: "companies are now called upon to raise the level of their civil conscience, accept their responsibility to the future generations, and operate in ways that enable them to grow and maintain profitability while minimizing environmental degradation."
The European Commissioner for the Environment Ms Margot Wallstrom also addressed the seminar and, inter alia, said:
"You need to ensure that your environmental laws are effectively implemented and enforced. It isn't easy to balance the demands for environmental protection with the demands for development but now that you are preparing to join the Union you can draw upon the experience of the member states to help you in this task."
Ms Wallstrom also underlined: "EU laws do not just involve costs - they provide benefits", explaining that the private sector would benefit from modern technology leading to higher productivity.
During her stay in Cyprus, Ms Wallstrom was also received by the President of the Republic Mr Glafcos Clerides.
After the meeting, Ms. Wallstrom stated that the President understands the great importance of environmental issues.
 Sri Lanka supports the reunification of CyprusThe Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Ioannis Kasoulides received the President of the Parliament of Sri Lanka Mr Joseph Michael Perera, who is currently on an official visit to Cyprus.
Having referred to the very close and friendly relations between the two countries, Mr Kasoulides briefed Mr Perera on the latest developments on the Cyprus problem and thanked him for Sri Lankas' consistent support, in international fora, of the efforts towards the solution of the Cyprus problem and the reunification of the country.
For his part, Mr Perera referred to the common bonds of the two countries and reaffirmed his country's support in the effort for the reunification of Cyprus. Making reference to Sri Lanka's problem, he said that efforts are being exerted for the transferring of power, but the division of the country could not be accepted.
 Valued Added Tax increases from 10% to 13%The plenary of the House of Representatives approved, on 27 June, a bill providing for an increase of the Valued Added Tax (VAT).
The Value Added Tax will increase from 10% to 13% as of July 1, 2002 and to 15% as of January 1, 2003.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/