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President Tatar calls for a 'Cyprus reality-check' to usher in 'a new era of co-operation and mutual respect' between Turkish and Greek Cypriots

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Ersin Tatar, the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, has urged the international community to acknowledge the existence of two states in Cyprus to help resolve the decades-old dispute between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. “We are going to Geneva with a new vision for Cyprus, one based on the realities on the island. There are two peoples with distinct national identities, running their own affairs separately since 1964. Today, they have their own institutions, national assemblies and laws, but sadly there is very little interaction between the two sides. We want to change that and usher in a new era of co-operation and mutual respect, but we need the help of the international community to achieve this,” said President Tatar.

The president was speaking ahead of his trip to Geneva this week for informal talks with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and the foreign ministers of the island’s three Guarantor Powers, Turkey, Britain and Greece. The meeting is being held on the invitation of the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Cyprus has been ethnically divided following the outbreak of the conflict in December 1963, when the numerically larger Greek Cypriot partner forcefully seized control of the three-year-old bi-communal partnership Republic of Cyprus. Forced out of government for refusing to forgo their political equality, Turkish Cypriots quickly formed their own administration, which was declared as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in 1983. CONT.

There have been eleven major plans and initiatives to settle the Cyprus issue since 1964. Eight of these have been based on the ‘bi-zonal, bi-communal’ federal settlement model that was first adopted by the UN in 1977. Turkish Cypriots have accepted every single proposal, while Greek Cypriots have rejected all of them, including the 2004 Annan Plan, which was put to a simultaneous referendum. The Greek Cypriot side also blocked progress at the 2017 Crans Montana Summit, which was named by all parties as “the final attempt” to resolve the issue through the bi-communal, bi-zonal federalism formula. President Tatar was elected on a two-state mandate in October 2020 and wants to redefine the UN parameters to increase the chances of a sustainable settlement deal.

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“We’ve had decades of failed federation talks. This is adequate proof that federalism is not an appropriate settlement model for Cyprus. Federalism needs interdependence, mutual trust and most of all strong mutual interests for its establishment and sustenance. These do not exist in Cyprus. “If Greek Cypriots don’t want to share power with us, that’s OK. We can continue to function and stimulate co-operation as two separate States. What is not OK is for Turkish Cypriots to endure ongoing isolation and discrimination. That must stop!” the TRNC President said.

“European nations, Germany among them, took just six years to put the horrors of the Second World War behind them and focus on forging a common future. Yet more than fifty years on from 1963, we have yet to establish good neighbourly relations between the two sides,” said President Tatar. “Even before the pandemic, trade levels and the movement of people across the Green Line was woefully low. We need to change that, to encourage more commercial, cultural and political ties, which can only happen if there is mutual respect and equality,” he continued.

“It’s time for a Cyprus reality-check. Our two States is the legacy of the Cyprus conflict, and suffering and the polarisation of the two peoples will continue as long as the status quo remains. For the sake of future generations and for regional peace and stability, we need to end this dispute, and start normalising relations between the two States of the island. “Turkish Cypriots exist, we have our own State and we have rights. It’s vital the international community acknowledges this and helps us to expand the UN parameters, which in turn will pave the way for a fair and sustainable permanent settlement,” Tatar concluded.

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Cyprus

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €157 million in pre-financing to Cyprus

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The European Commission has disbursed €157 million to Cyprus in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country's financial allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The pre-financing payment will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan.

The country is set to receive €1.2 billion in total over the lifetime of its plan, with €1 billion provided in grants and €200m in loans. Today's disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80bn in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to member states under NextGenerationEU. Part of NextGenerationEU, the RRF will provide €723.8bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across member states.

The Cypriot plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies. A press release is available online.

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Commission approves €1 billion Cypriot scheme to support enterprises and self-employed individuals in context of coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved a €1 billion Cypriot scheme to support enterprises and self-employed individuals in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework. The support will take the form of state guarantees on new loans. The measure will be open to companies active in all sectors (except the financial sector). The aim of the scheme is to provide liquidity for viable companies which experienced business disruption due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Commission found that the Cypriot measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the scheme (i) relates to new loans with a minimum maturity of three months and a maximum maturity of six years; (ii) foresees a  coverage of the guarantee limited to 70% of the loan principal; (iii) provides for minimum remuneration of the guarantee; (iv) contains adequate safeguards to ensure that the aid is channelled effectively by the financial intermediaries to the  beneficiaries in need; and (v) ensures that support will be granted no later than 31 December 2021.

The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the aid measure under EU state aid rules.

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Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager (pictured), in charge of competition policy, said: “This €1bn scheme will enable Cyprus to support companies and self-employed persons affected by the coronavirus pandemic through the provision of state guarantees on loans. The scheme will help these companies address the liquidity shortages they face due to the ongoing crisis. We will keep working together with member states to find the best solutions to support companies during these difficult times, in line with EU rules.”

A press release is available online.

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Commission welcomes next step on the approval of the recovery and resilience plans of Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovenia

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The European Commission has welcomed the positive exchange of views on the Council implementing decisions on the approval of national recovery and resilience plans for Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovenia held on 26 July, at the informal videoconference of EU Economy and Finance Ministers (ECOFIN). These plans set out the measures that will be supported by the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The RRF is at the heart of NextGenerationEU, which will provide €800 billion (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across the EU. The Council implementing decisions will be formally adopted by written procedure shortly.

This formal adoption will pave the way for the payment of up to 13% of the total allocated amount for each of these member states in pre-financing. The Commission aims to disburse the first pre-financing as quickly as possible, following the signing of the bilateral financing agreements and, where relevant, loan agreements. The Commission will then authorise further disbursements based on the satisfactory fulfilment of the milestones and targets outlined in each of the Council Implementing Decisions, reflecting progress on the implementation of the investments and reforms covered in the plans.

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