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24-03-2022 12:15

Statement by the Government Spokesman on the participation of the President of the Republic in the European Council Summit in Brussels

The President of the Republic is in Brussels to participate, today and tomorrow, in the European Council Summit.

As you know, the situation in Ukraine will be in the focus of discussions, the initial part of which will be also attended by the US President, Mr Joe Biden.

EU leaders will exchange views on various aspects related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, such as the ongoing diplomatic efforts to end the war, the increasing refugee flows and the reception of Ukrainian refugees in EU Member States, the humanitarian and financial support that Ukraine needs, and the issue of closing the gaps in the implementation of the sanctions that we have already imposed. And unfortunately, the biggest gaps in terms of sanctions concern third countries and particularly candidates for EU membership, primarily Turkey.

In the context of the whole debate, President Anastasiades will draw some parallels between the current situation in Ukraine and what had happened in Cyprus in 1974. He will explain the reasons why the passage of time does not produce justice, nor does it wash away the invasion and occupation of a country by a powerful neighbour and their derivatives. The President of the Republic will inform his European counterparts about the bold Confidence Building Measures he has proposed, which aim to restore confidence between the parties and create the necessary conditions for the resumption of negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

The most important issue on the agenda of the second day of the European Council’s deliberations is that of Energy, in the light of the efforts of the European Union to promote energy independence, as an imperative need in the new geopolitical situation in Europe, by diversifying its sources of energy supply. President Anastasiades will highlight the important role the Republic of Cyprus can play in this direction, through important energy projects and synergies with partners in the wider region and neighbouring countries. In addition, EU leaders will exchange views on the key issue of high energy prices as recorded in recent months and consider concrete measures that could alleviate the unbearable cost borne by citizens and businesses.

With regard to the other topics of the summit, I would say that issues, which stand out, relate to (1) the area of defence and security, especially if one takes into account the agreement reached on the Strategic Compass (2) the food situation within the Single Market, (3) the latest developments in relation to the coronavirus pandemic and (4) the preparations for the upcoming EU-China Summit.