© Copyright Embassy of Greece 1996-2005. All Rights Reserved.
22 June, 1999
EU External Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek stated that Cyprus is making fast progress in converging with the Union and in its accession negotiations.
"If the Republic of Cyprus continues with the same pace, the first round of negotiations on its harmonisation with the acquis communautaire will have been completed," he said after the regular six-monthly intergovernmental conference of the EU with Cyprus yesterday.
He added that certain important aspects, such as taxation and free movement of capital were pending, but expressed hope that on these, too, Cyprus would be able to come up with satisfactory answers.
Regarding the island republic's political problem, Mr. van den Broek said the recent decision by the G8 to urge the UN to restart talks between the two communities was particularly encouraging and gave rise to hopes that the Turkish side would respond in a positive manner.
The president of the Council, German Deputy Foreign Minister Guenter Verheugen also said Cyprus was on a good path, that 10 chapters in negotiations had already closed and that the EU would encourage the island republic to proceed at the same pace.
Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis spoke in the same spirit and concurred with Mr. van den Broek on the progress of negotiations. He said the G8 decision underlined the broader international interest in the problem, particularly of the larger countries.
He also stressed that if the Turkish Cypriots accepted the UN Secretary General's invitation to the talks, this would have an especially positive impact on Turkey's European prospects.
Cypriot FM Ioannis Kassoulides thanked the German presidency for the way it had handled the issue of Cyprus over the last six months, and appeared optimistic that the G8 decision would kick-start the negotiations until November.
Source: Athens News Agency