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20 years later: The first Cypriot MEPs talk about the Europe of then and now

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20 χρoνια μετà: Οι &pi ;ρoτοιοιοωετιλ οεεεεεο ; σorμερα

The first European elections in Cyprus were held on June 13, 2004, about a month and a half after the referendums on the Annan plan and the accession of Cyprus to European Union. Cyprus acquired its first six members of the European Parliament in the 6th parliamentary term.

The first MEPsthey were on behalf of DISY who collected a percentage of 28.23%, Ioannis Kasoulidis and Panagiotis Dimitriou, on behalf of AKEL who collected a percentage of 27.89%, Adamos Adamou and Kyriakos Triantafyllidis, on behalf of DIKO, who collected a percentage of 17.09% Marios Matsakis and on behalf of the For Europe movement Giannakis Matsis who collected 10.80%.

Ioannis Kasoulidis, Adamos Adamou and Giannakis Matsis spoke at KYPE about their experience and about Europe then and now.

First impressions< /p>

Ioannis Kasoulidis and Adamos Adamou pointed out the atmosphere in the European Parliament after the result of the referendums on the Annan planwith the MEP – at the time – of DISY citing his positive vote to explain the position of the E/K side and the MEP – at the time – of AKEL, who voted against the plan, explaining what the concerns of the E/C were Mr.

Mr. Kasoulidis said that some people also knew him as Foreign Minister before during the preparation of Cyprus's accession to the EU. The tactic he followed, he continued, in order to break the “ice block” towards the Cypriots, was to deal with the issues that concerned MEPs other countries, making friendships and collaborations and had a leading role in the EPP from the beginning. This, he recalls, helped them face later in 2004 amendments against the KD that promoted pro-Turkish interests in the EP  due to the rejection of the Anan plan.

What matters, Mr. Kasoulidis said, is how the Cypriot MEP moves in the EP. “If they are with positions so Cypriot, to the extent that others will not agree, you have lost the game”.

The atmosphere in Brussels was somehow negative towards us, because they thought  that we rejected the solution plan through referendums, but they ignored many key things, Adamos Adamou said, such as how it would work  this plan. Little by little, with the efforts of all MEPs, as well as the Permanent Delegation of the CD, he added, they managed to change this atmosphere. I had to  Europeans take a deep look at the  Cypriot even if the Annan plan solved the issue of invasion and occupation, as he pointed out.

He noted that all the MEPs at the time declared that they wanted a proper, functional and sustainable solution. “In my personal opinion, what was offered through the Annan plan was neither applicable nor functional”.

All MEPs, he continued, were integrated into the European process and did a good job in other matters as well. He said that he himself was in the Parliamentary Committee of the EP for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council, and he recounted that they made many visits both to Gaza Strip, as well as the West Bank. “We did a very good job with Mr. Kasoulidis and we were praised by both Israel and the Palestinians.” Even  he sees the misery in the streets at that time, he said, referring to the unacceptable situation they had put in the Israeli government at the time (2004-2008).

Expressing an opinion on the current situation in the Middle East, Mr. Adamou said that he does not know if there will be a solution to the problem or if it will be the beginning of a more general war in the region, noting that many countries have already been involved. “That's the concern we should all have.” He hoped that there would soon be negotiations and that solutions would be found and that everyone would respect “human life and human dignity”.

Giannakis Matsis explained that the reason he then ran as a candidate with the “For Europe” movement was because he believed strongly in Europe and how it would help solve the Cyprus problem. Mr. Matsis said that he was making efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue both within the European Parliament and in the direction of the USA and he believed that the European factor could contribute to finding a solution, but this did not happen.

Giannakis Matsis said that “one person, one vote” should apply in Cyprus, he tried to achieve it in the EP, but there were countries that opposed it for their own interests.

The future of united Europe

Too many generations of Cypriots have now been born and raised within the EU, said Ioannis Kasoulidis, and recognize the good that EU membership has brought. ». We have a political voice in Europe and participate in various social and economic programs that offer a better quality of life than we would have if we were not members of the Union, he pointed out. “Without a doubt we did well and got in”.

Mr. Kasoulidis considers the biggest evil that happened to the EU to be Brexit, a big country – as he said – left and there is still the risk of exit from other European states. But the EU also has a history, a tradition of years, he noted. He also believes that the election of the combination led by Mrs. Meloni in Italy proved the recognition of the value of a united Europe and that in such cases “we should highlight the good and be less strict with the bad”.

Mr. Kasoulidis considers, however, that the rise of the extreme right is a phenomenon that “I'm very afraid has not passed. The content of the Brexit referendum was a far-right event. The xenophobic, racist arguments put forward to get the British people to vote were far-right and often fascist arguments.” The extreme right is rising, it will play a role, as long as those who are defenders of Democracy and freedom, feel that they must always fight to preserve this good that the EU is based on, he added.

Twenty years later, “I didn't see many things change,” Adamos Adamou's assessment, “for the EU to become a Union, the United States of Europe, with a common foreign policy, with a common defense and security policy, with common social policy. Each state decides for itself what to do with its people. We are far from becoming the USA with a central government”.

Each state, he said, has interests and tries to promote the interests of its country through the participating alliance. Few remained with the vision of a “United States of Europe”. Our region is the powder keg of the world, the world is drowning in the sea in search of a better future, the problems must be solved in the emerging regions, said Mr. Adamou. “Where is the humanity? Solidarity; Which promote a healthy environment for our children to grow up”.

Europe needs, he said, a leadership that will bring member states to the table and together plan and take to the world common policies on how to upgrade the EU as a whole and not each country looking at its own interests. We need European integration, but European principles and values ​​today are served a la carte, he added.

Today is a completely different Europe, according to Mr. Matsis who estimates that “it will not be able to stand” .Cyprus was and is the richest country in Europe with the amount of natural gas available in its EEZ, he added.

The upcoming European elections

Ioannis Kasoulidis and Adamos Adamou urged people to go to the polls on June 9 to elect the person they think is best to represent them in the European Parliament.

There is indifference in all member states from around the world for the European elections and participation is always lower than in the national elections, Mr. Kasoulidis observed, considering this to be normal, since “one seat up, one seat down” does not change governments, nor do they change national budgets.  As we get closer to June 9, he believes that people's interest will increase because voters will come to the polls and for local government. He expects the turnout to fluctuate at the same levels as those of the last European elections.

It is a mistake to abstain, said Mr. Adamou, noting that 60-70% of the policies implemented by EU member states are decided in Brussels and the EP is an institution that plays a role. The European elections, he said, are of equal, if not greater, importance than the local elections and the Cypriot people would do well to see them with a different eye, “as of utmost importance. And to send the people who the people believe can best serve the interest of our country”

“Let the people go and vote, even if they cast white”, said Giannakis Matsis regarding with the upcoming European elections.


Source: www.philenews.com

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