articles | 24 March 2017

Cyprus could have renewed leadership of East Med

Cyprus now has the chance to have a renewed leadership in the region of Mediterraneanand the Middle East, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and former EU special representative for the Middle East Miguel Ángel Moratinos has said, suggesting the creation of a high authority for energy and water in the region.

Speaking in a round-table discussion in Nicosia, organised by the European Parliament’s office in Cyprus and Cyprus` Foreign Ministry on Europe and the Mediterranean, Moratinos said that the time has come for a courageous and bold initiative in the region, following the model of the European Coal and Steel Community after World War II.

He suggested the creation of a high authority to deal with energy and the water problem in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, so as countries from the Mediterranean and from the Middle East to share together the energy wealth and create a way to live together. He also said that Cyprus could be an important centre not only for the region, but also for the EU.

Speaking on the need for a new approach for the Mediterranean on behalf of the EU, he pointed out that the Mediterranean countries have to be creative and innovative.

Saying that the EU has not made much effort for the South as for the Eastern countries, he added that the good news is that now the Mediterranean is on the top of the agenda, because of security concerns such as immigration and terrorism.

“Now for the first time the Eastern, Central and North Europeans, are concerned with the challenge and the threat coming from the South. But my fear is that they will address this issue only from the security angle”, he said. He added that they will not have a political strategy to solve the problem and so the Mediterranean countries needs to show leadership, be innovative, creative and exert their capacity to work for the future.

He added that one cannot conceive the future of the EU without Mediterranean and vice versa. As he said the Mediterranean is a part of the long evolution of the history of Europe and that every time the EU has started to think its foreign policy the Mediterranean was a catalyst.

As for Cyprus issue he said that is should be solved, the sooner the better. On the Middle East Problem he said that the EU has to solve this problem with the recognition of the Palestinian state, something that needs leadership on part of the EU.

Cypriot MEP Demetris Papadakis said that Cyprus’ great strategic position is not used as it should be not even by the European Union.

As he said Cyprus could be an extraordinary centre for the EU, in order to give a very close eye on the affected areas in the Middle East and help the region emerge from the mess and the conflicts that are taken place.

In regard to the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU, Papadakis suggested the operational centre of the future defence Union of the EU to be established in Cyprus.

“I have no doubt that by doing this the EU will be able to better follow the realities of the region. It is clear that Cyprus meets all the requirements concerning the establishment of such a critical and significant operation”, he said adding that the island is the only member-state of the Union without an established seat of an EU agency.

He also criticised the EU for failing to act and take significant initiatives in order to ease the situation in the Middle East and still remains spectator of the American and the Russian policies in the region.

As he said now is the time of the EU to take the leading role in the region by stop being apathetic, because the situation in the Southern Region affects EU’s vital interests. 

Source: InCyprus

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