STRASBOURG - President Christofias has stressed that the first Cyprus EU Presidency achieved significant results and targets for the Union and shared his thoughts for the future of Europe, asking for more solidarity and social cohesion.
Presenting Tuesday before the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, the results of the first Cyprus EU Presidency. he said that “our main aim during our six-month Presidency was to contribute constructively to furthering European integration. I honestly believe that the main results of our Presidency, are undeniable proof of our positive contribution”.
In addition, he said that the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize but at the same time, Cyprus, a full EU member state, is partly occupied by an other state (Turkey) which aspires to join the EU.
He also expressed sorrow for the “gap between the political decision-making at the level, for example, of the European Council compared to what is realised at the technocratic level”.
“It cannot be that the June European Council finally focuses on growth and strengthening of employment, while simultaneously the technocrats-representatives of the Troika promote the same-old failed recipes of one-sided strict austerity, leading millions of European citizens to poverty, deprivation and social exclusion”, he pointed out.
The European Union, he said, should not give the impression that it only supports big business and bankers.
“Policies granting absolute freedom to the market – amounting to reckless behaviour and the freedom of speculators and multinational corporations to impose austerity measures on the people of Europe, stifling growth and disrupting the social fabric – must be abandoned. It is my firm conviction that unilateral policies of austerity are a guaranteed recipe for failure, only succeeding in making the rich richer and the poor poorer”, he stated.
He also stressed the need for solidarity among the EU.
“I believe that especially nowadays when the European Union is going through a multifaceted crisis, we must look to the principles on which the Union was founded for guidance; especially to the Principle of Solidarity. Not to serve, as some might fear, unrestrained lending of the “poor south from the rich European north”, but to reassert through transparent procedures and best practices, that the word “Union” in the term “European Union” is not void of meaning, but has substance and political bite, via effective actions that make a difference to the people”, he noted.
Referring to the achievements of the first Cyprus EU Presidency, he said that one of the main priorities of the Cyprus Presidency was the establishment of the Common European Asylum System. “The Cyprus Presidency inherited the four outstanding legislative proposals to complete the work on the Common European Asylum System. I am very pleased to say that we are very close to effectively meeting this great goal,” he said.
He expressed his satisfaction for the results of the extraordinary Economic and Financial Affairs Council convened by the Cyprus Presidency on 12 December, which reached an agreement on the Single Supervisory Mechanism, thus making an important step towards the realisation of the Banking Union and the direct recapitalisation of banks.
Another notable success of the Presidency, he said, was the timely agreement with the European Parliament on the EU’s budget for 2013 and supplementary budgets for 2012.
Referring to the agreement on the Unitary Patent, he said that “undoubtedly is a great achievement for the Union” and explained that “the inter-institutional crisis that commenced last June was overcome and after over-30 years of negotiations, the relevant Regulation has finally been signed”.
In the area of external trade, he said that a significant step was made with the launching of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with Japan. “It is noteworthy that according to Commission estimates, it is expected that as a result of this Agreement 400,000 additional jobs will be created in the EU,” he pointed out.
The President referred “to the success of the Cyprus Presidency in “reenergising” the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy”, noting that “the Limassol Declaration has given a new impetus to exploit the huge potential of “Blue Growth”.
“Undoubtedly, maritime and shipping activities may contribute decisively towards growth and new jobs in these difficult times”, he pointed out.
He added that the Cyprus Presidency managed to normalize the situation in relation to the Schengen Governance regime.
Moreover, he thanked all the institutions of the Union, but primarily the European Parliament and the Presidents of all the Political Groups, for their support during the Cyprus Presidency as well as the European Commission and particular its President.
Concluding, he expressed certainty that the current Irish Presidency will fully achieve its aims. “Our Irish partners undoubtedly have the commitment, experience and skills to lead Europe forward. It would be a great honour for us if they deem useful what we have built in the past six months”, he said.