Addressing an official dinner hosted by President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia, Schulz said that he was in Cyprus “to express on behalf of the members of the European Parliament, on behalf of the European Union the full and unconditional support for your country.”
He said that “as a citizen of a country which had the privilege to be, after 40 years of division, unified in a moment where nobody expected that it is possible” and “now we are 25 years after the reunification of Germany, nothing is impossible.”
Schulz said that “it is an historic experience. It may last a long time but sooner or later you can’t go against history and, therefore, I am optimistic that one day, I hope soon, your country will be a reunited country.”
He also noted that after his meeting with the political parties from both communities, he said that “your island is amid a very turbulent region. A sustainable stability in your country is an enormous contribution to security for Europe and the Middle East, for the Mediterranean, for the whole world.”
Concluding, Schulz said that “today, I witnessed your very efficient management concerning the hijacked plane. We are grateful that it ended as it did.”
On his part, President Anastasiades said that “we had the opportunity to discuss the latest developments in the negotiations for reaching a comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem that will reunite Cyprus and its people. We have also agreed that the Cyprus problem is a European problem and that the solution should be in line with the principles and values of the European Union, safeguarding the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all the people of Cyprus.”
“This year, Cyprus marls the 12th anniversary of its accession to the European Union which was the most important achievement since the declaration of our country’s independence. Our membership in a political union of developed and democratic states, gave us the opportunity both as a society and as a state to enter into a process of reforms and modernisation based on the EU acquis.
“During these years, unfortunately, we have also experienced an unprecedented economic crisis. Nevertheless, the Cypriot economy is emerging back to recovery, faster than anyone could have predicted. We have shown to our European partners that Cypriots are turning our economic challenges into an opportunity, an achievement that was reached with vision, detailed planning and prudence.”
Anastasiades concluded that “the European Union is faced today with two major crises; the scourge of terrorism and the mass refugee flow. I will not get into details now concerning these two critical challenges but I will only say that European solidarity can work if all member states commit to it and defend our values and achievements.
Earlier in the day, Martin Schulz met with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties which participate in the Ledra Palace meetings at the UN buffer zone, for the past three decades, under the auspices of the Embassy of Slovakia in Nicosia.
Addressing the meeting, Schulz said “we are living in turbulent and dramatic times” noting that the EU was never in its history in such challenged times as it is today.
He pointed out that there is not only the refugee crisis, but also terrorism, unemployment, nationalism, the difficult relations with Russia, the Ukraine issue, the developments in the US and China.
We need a strong and coherent EU, he said. Referring to unemployment, he said that there are some regions in Europe where the rate reaches 60% and that this is of concern since .the young generation of Europe today is the most educated one.
Source: Financial Mirror