A Cyprus settlement could lead to approximately a doubling of the GDP of the whole island by 2035, European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule has said.
“There are no doubts that settlement would lead to major investments in many areas, be it in the building sector, the tourism or other business areas,” he told Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot guests at a Monday evening dinner in Nicosia.
“There are estimates that settlement would lead to approximately a doubling of the GDP of the whole island by 2035,” he added.
Fule, who left the island yesterday after a two-day official visit, also said that Turkey is playing a constructive role to support the UN-brokered negotiation process aiming to reunite the island. This was re-launched on February 11, after the two community leaders reached agreement on a controversial joint communiqué listing key principles of a federated Cyprus.
“Further close relations between Cyprus and Turkey could open up other opportunities both for Turkey and for Cyprus,” Fule also said.
“A settlement would open the Turkish market for Cyprus and the EU market for Turkish Cypriots. The construction of an energy pipeline to Turkey could be possible,” he added.
Fule, who had meetings with President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said he was left with the feeling that they share the EU’s understanding of the need to do more.
“We now have to identify a way to move forward in a manner that all involved feel comfortable with,” he added.
He then disclosed that European Commission President Barroso's Personal Representative Pieter van Nuffel will be even more present to support the communities in the months ahead.
And that, so far, he has been contributing actively in a way that allows both communities to draw directly from the Commission's expertise as Guardian of the Treaties.
In addition, the Commission will step up its efforts to help the Turkish Cypriot community prepare for implementation of the acquis.
“The 2006 Aid Regulation establishing the European Union assistance programme for the Turkish Cypriot community already provides a solid and broad basis for that and I am here to discuss with all partners the best way to proceed,” he also said.
“It will be important to ensure that following a settlement, the European Union can count on an efficient and effective reunited Cyprus as a Member State fulfilling its acquis commitments,” he added.
Fule noted that the EU is also ready to jointly identify ways to step up reunification efforts through new measures and instruments once the settlement process has advanced.
He was probably referring to the proposal by President Anastasiades for the Turkish-held ghost town of Famagusta to be open up now in a bid to bring the two communities closer.
He argues that this confidence-building measure would certainly boost the fresh efforts to reunite Cyprus.