Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

Upon arrival at the European Council Summit in Brussels, the President of the Republic, Mr Nikos Christodoulides, made the following statement:

“I hope that we will have a substantive discussion about developments in the Middle East. I hope we can come to conclusions on this very important issue. As I mentioned yesterday, any other outcome would be a failure for the European Union (EU). We cannot have a war in our neighbourhood, a humanitarian crisis, and not be able to reach a common approach, a common position as the EU on the need to help in the humanitarian aspect in particular. Beyond that, I want to welcome yesterday's decision to launch negotiations with some countries. At the same time, however, I would like to express my concern regarding the way in which this decision was taken. You are all aware what has happened. I believe that a negative precedent is being set. Over the years, the success of the EU has been that we have taken decisions through a process, through dialogue, and in the end, all 27 Member States, all the Member States, come to a common approach. I repeat, I believe that a negative precedent is being set, which we will encounter in subsequent debates. You have also seen the results in relation to the revision of the multiannual financial framework. The dialogue will continue in January to see if all 27 of us can agree on a common approach. However, I repeat, decisions taken without all 27 Member States present, being involved, adopting the decision, I believe that they create the wrong precedent, which affects one of the strongest features of the EU. In any case, let us see today how the debate on developments in the Middle East will proceed. I hope that we do not see the things that we saw yesterday and reach common conclusions.”

In response to a journalist question, President Christodoulides replied, “There needs to be more preparation before the councils. Matters should not be left until the last possible minute. However, I repeat, what is the strongest feature of the EU? This synthesis of views of all Member States. By taking decisions in this way – and I fully agree with the decision; the Republic of Cyprus was one of the Member States which agreed with the decision taken without any remarks – it sets a negative precedent. I want to see how the debate on the Middle East issue will develop today. I hope we will not be led back to this kind of approach, because the one who is most affected by this is the EU itself.”

Responding to another question, the President of the Republic noted, “As the EU, if we do not have a common approach, if we do not take the necessary steps in order to face the dire humanitarian situation in the Middle East, I am afraid to say that as the EU, we will fail. Therefore, as someone who comes from the region, Cyprus is the closest EU member state in the region; we have excellent relations with all neighboring countries. I will insist on the need to reach conclusions. Otherwise, as the EU, we would be sending the wrong message, not only in the region, but also in the geopolitical role that we aspire to have as the EU.”