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Stelios Stavridis

Abstract

The existing academic literature argues that the EU’s enlargement policy provides for peace and democracy among applicant states. Central and Eastern European countries are cited as recent examples of such a process following the historic events of 1989-1991. Previous examples include Greece and the Iberian countries in the 1970s. Now that the Republic of Cyprus has joined the EU and that Turkey has begun its accession negotiations, this article argues that in both cases (Cyprus and Turkey), the EU has not acted in such a positive way, especially in failing to bring the Turkish occupation of the north of Cyprus to an end. This study then moves on to the new context of a possible future ‘European solution’ to the Cyprus Problem. It deals with this question both from a general perspective and from a
specific angle: the views of Cypriot MEPs. As for the time being there are only Greek-Cypriot MEPs because of the ongoing division of the Island, this article only addresses their concerns, ideas and suggestions. The article concludes that when taken within its diachronic evolution, the EU’s record has not been that positive. Therefore, it seems at this stage at least, that a ‘European solution’ to the Cyprus Problem is more a ‘false promise’ rather than a ‘real opportunity’. This piece does not discuss what a European solution would look like all the same. Another conclusion of this study is that the EU as a whole, but also the European Parliament, may be using the Cyprus situation as a means to block, or at least delay, Turkey’s accession, but without having any real interest in finding a solution to the ongoing Turkish occupation of nearly 40 per cent of Cyprus’ territory. The wider implications are important not only for the credibility of the EU as an international actor but also for the impact of its enlargement policy in the future.

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