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Commission President: Cyprus is a hub of solidarity for the EU and the world

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<p>The European Union is the main support in the effort to achieve peace in Cyprus, said the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulidis, on the afternoon of Holy Wednesday, at an event celebrating the 20th anniversary of Cyprus's accession to the European Union, held in Presidential Palace in the presence of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen who said that Cyprus has become a hub of solidarity, not only for Europe but also for the world.</p>
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Speaking for the European Union, President Christodoulidis said that in this successful peace project “we are also investing in ending the occupation and reunifying our homeland. And yes, the European Union is our main support in the effort to achieve peace in our country through a mutually beneficial state of affairs that will bring about the consolidation of the sense of security and cooperation in the troubled region in which we find ourselves”.

< p>“On such a day, and with the presence of the President of the European Commission, which is a great honor for our country and the Cypriot people, celebrating and honoring such an important anniversary, we could not have had better interlocutors than all of you, the representatives of new generation, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots”, said President Christodoulidis, addressing the students of the schools who were present.

Addressing the President of the Commission, President Christodoulidis stated that her presence is an indication of the great importance he attaches to the new generation of European citizens as President of the European Commission. 

“The accession of Cyprus to the European Union is an extremely important milestone in the modern history of our country” said President Christodoulidis.

He pointed out that it is the culmination of a joint, multi-year and painstaking strategic pursuit and diplomatic effort with very positive effects on the political, economic and social development of the country.

He added that it was exactly 20 years ago, on this day, 1st May 2004, when Cyprus became an equal, full and integral member of a strong and like-minded group of states, a group of states with which we share common values ​​and principles, defending the  democracy, the rule of law and pluralism.

Addressing the students, the President said that “we feel a sense of debt and responsibility to all of you, because we know that we must deliver to you a reliable and active Member State, reunited, which will continue to be at the core of decision-making centers in Brussels with a substantial reason and role”.

A state, he continued, that continues to make a constructive contribution to the formation of European policies with the ultimate goal of further integration, for a security Union, with a clear geopolitical orientation, with strategic aspirations and strategic autonomy, so that it is capable of effectively dealing with any challenges.

He pointed out that the most important features of Cyprus's status as a member state are the freedom and the opportunity provided to all European citizens, and especially to today's students and tomorrow's students and workers, to move freely within the Union, to settle , to study and work in any European country you wish. “All this, my dear children, was not a given before we joined the EU,” he said.

He noted that the biggest gain concerns the Union states themselves, since the strengthening of learning mobility and cross-border cooperation among young people are the basis for more solidarity, more mutual understanding, tightening of relations between European citizens and, by extension, a stronger Europe.

As he explained, such an example is the “School – Ambassador” program, a pan-European secondary education program, in which fifty-five Cypriot schools participate, “which you all represent here today”.

Addressing the students, President Christodoulidis said “we have an obligation, and we know it very well, to intensify our efforts in order to bequeath to the new generation, a Europe that is more prosperous, fairer, more inclusive, more competitive, with high standards of quality of life”.

A real Union of citizens, he continued, based on sustainable development and the green economy, digitalization, innovation, promoting young entrepreneurship in practice and putting the interests of its citizens at the center of every policy.

The President of the Republic, on the occasion of the fact that 2024 has been decided to be the Year of Youth, but much more because of this year's twentieth anniversary of the accession of Cyprus to the European Union, invited young people to participate en masse in the great celebration of the Republic on June 9 for the nomination of the members of the European Parliament.

“I truly believe that your massive participation, the massive participation of the Cypriot people, will be the best celebration of our twenty years of membership”, he noted.

The President of the European Commission in her greeting told the story of the rapture of Europe and said that “it is very moving for me to be here in Cyprus on this day. It is one of the places where our European civilization was born. But also where, twenty years ago, Europe was reborn”.

President von der Leyen noted that the status of a member state of the Union has transformed Cyprus for the better, saying that some of these changes are obvious.

“I am thinking, for example, of your National Health System – created with European support – And now two-thirds of all public hospitals in Cyprus are expanding thanks to EU funds, with new clinical units for children or for mental health support,” he said. In this context, he also thanked Commissioner Stella Kyriakidou for “her excellent work” at the European level.  

At the same time, he stated that in these twenty years, the natural heritage of Cyprus has been protected as much as never before, while the economy has grown by 4% every year, with trade increasing sixfold.

He also noted that 8,000 young Cypriots have studied across Europe thanks to the Erasmus program, while 16,000 students from the rest of Europe have come and studied in Cyprus.

“All these numbers mean something very simple. European integration has opened up a continent of possibilities for your own generation of Cypriots. Europe has made you stronger,” President von der Leyen pointed out.

He also spoke about the solidarity between the states in times of crisis such as the pandemic and the vaccines distributed to the member states or Next Generation EU and SURE to strengthen the economy. “Solidarity has made us all collectively strong”, he said.

He pointed out that throughout the centuries, Cyprus has always been a bridge between continents saying that “and since you joined, you have become one of the gates of the Union us to the world, for trade, for energy connections, for shipping, but also for humanitarian action”.

He recalled that just two months ago, he was in Cyprus with President Christodoulides, when Cyprus spearheaded the opening of a humanitarian sea corridor to northern Gaza.

He stated that Cyprus has become a hub of solidarity, not only for Europe but also for the world. “You make the most of your unique geography. And in doing so, you have become a new center of gravity for our Union. Thanks to you, and to the other countries that joined twenty years ago, our Union has become truly continental,” he said.

What makes us all Europeans is of course the common roots, which date back to the great civilizations of the past, he said and added that “most importantly, are the values ​​we all share”.

“This is what makes us Europeans. This is what makes us united in our diversity. Not only our history, but also our common path”, he said.

“On this anniversary of May 1, my heartfelt wish is to see this beautiful island reunited especially for you who are the member of Europe,” she pointed out.

Addressing the young men and women she said that ” the future of our Union belongs to you. You will determine the course of our continent for the next twenty years, and beyond. Europe will be what you want it to be.”

During the event, students from 17 schools in Cyprus presented actions they carry out as part of the “School-Ambassador of the European Parliament” program.< /p>

The students' presentations were followed by a discussion with the President of the Republic and the President of the European Commission.

Also, students from the Nicosia Music School performed songs under the artistic direction of Mariza Anastasiadis.

The Cypriot Health and Food Safety Commissioner of the European Commission, Stella Kyriakidou, also attended the event, while Ministers, Deputy Ministers, party leaders or representatives, MPs, Ambassadors of EU member states and other officials

Source: www.philenews.com

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