The challenges of the European Union, as deleted from the speech of the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, but also her reports on the relationship with Turkey, were commented by the Cypriot MEPs in their statements to KYPE.
DISY MEP and member of the group of the European People's Party, Lefteris Christoforou, said that addressing the challenges, especially those that arose after the pandemic, is linked to the joint work done by the EU.
“I really can not imagine where we as Cyprus and Europe would be if the EU did not exist to withstand these huge shocks,” he said. “I do not believe that there is an EU country that can deal with the pandemic crisis more effectively on its own than we did together,” he added.
Regarding Ms. von der Leyen's reports on the relationship with Turkey and the absence of reports on Ankara's provocations against Cyprus, Mr. Christoforou stressed that “we hold positions of principle, as a Cypriot delegation we try to do so and we implement it and have it as a cruising line when we ask for and seek sanctions or punishment of Turkey for what it commits criminally against Cyprus, Greece and even within it “.
“That is why where there are human rights issues we are sensitive and we follow the position of authority and we must defend them in whatever country they are violated, we must be immovable and that is why we have called on the EU many times to be non-negotiable on human rights issues. “because they concern us primarily since Turkey has been violating them for 47 years in Cyprus”, he added.
Lucas Fourlas, another DISY and EPP MEP, said that health had become a top priority for all European citizens, as evidenced by yesterday's reports by Ursula von der Leyen, while emphasizing the importance of the union members to meet the challenges.
“If we have learned anything from all this history and the pandemic, it is that we can not regulate our own health in terms of health and we need the cooperation of all states,” he said, adding that a virus does not stops at the border.
On the next challenges, such as overcoming the pandemic, the green transition and tackling the economic effects of the pandemic, Mr Fourlas said there was an intention but there must be political will at the same time, something for which Europe suffers.
“We have set noble goals but in order to achieve them we need political will, but we have not proved so far that we have this political will.
Finally, regarding the absence of reports on Turkey and the challenges towards Cyprus, Mr. Fourlas expressed concern about the “two meters and two weights”, after the President of the Commission made a succinct report on Turkey, but at the same time said that we must sever all ties with dictatorial regimes such as Russia and Belarus.
“We can not operate with two meters and two weights,” he said, while new measures were passed against Russia and “we leave Turkey unharmed.”
AKEL MEP and member of the Left group in the EP George Georgiou stated in his statements to KYPE that the President of the Commission used “auspicious words to cover some of the weaknesses of the EU that exist from last year until today”
As he said, instead of solidarity during the pandemic, we observed in the EU closed borders, storage of medical equipment “and orders for vaccines from the back door”. Mr. Georgiou also criticized the fact that from the funds of the EU4Health health program amounting to € 9 billion for public health support, € 5.3 billion were given.
He was skeptical about getting out of the pandemic, saying that while vaccination was advancing in Europe at the same time, Africa or third countries bordering the EU were having a lot of problems with a lack of vaccines and the emergence of Covid mutations.
He spoke in support of the US Alliance, but said that maintaining some independence was not the answer. green growth some large beasts “.
He highlighted the issue of social Europe, saying that the EU could use its own resources to subsidize member states, adding that “these will be paid by the people, since we are talking about super-memoranda”, since disbursements under Development Plans will be made later. from reforms.
Finally, regarding the general reports in Turkey, Mr. Georgiou acknowledged that Turkey is a strong geopolitical player and noted that the Turkish President is trying to modernize the Customs Union with the EU by instrumentalizing immigration.
He also pointed out that the President of the Commission is mandated by the decisions of the European Councils and added that “indeed the climate in relations with Turkey should be a climate of reversal (of the positive agenda) when the challenges are unbearable and unbearable.”
For his part, Niazi Kiziljurek, also an AKEL MEP and a member of the Left group, said that despite the delayed response to the start of the 2020 pandemic, where “EU unity was threatened” and the lack of vaccines “we managed to reach a good point with vaccination of 70% of the adult population, but also the use of own resources by the Union to finance development and combat the economic impact of the pandemic.
He noted, however, that on the other hand there are many challenges, such as green growth, the new tax system and a fair transition, adding that the EU has much to do to strengthen its image as an international player on the international stage.
Mr Kiziljurek referred to serious problems in the Union, such as the emergence of countries within the EU called “non-liberal democracies”, which lack respect for human rights and EU principles and values, adding that while the European Parliament voted to establish mechanisms to deal with In these cases, “there is a difference between what the Commission does and what the Council (Member States) do”.
Regarding the absence of reports from the Chairman of the Commission on Turkey and the challenges towards Cyprus, Mr. Kizilgiurek said that the difference between the European Parliament and the Commission and the Council is also reflected in the Cyprus issue or the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean. .
“We have often voted overwhelmingly for Turkey's behavior, but when it comes to the Council it takes a different form,” he said, adding that it was a fact that member states and important states such as Germany and others “do not want to face “Turkey since they have interests with this country”. “The EU is a player that is not a player in the Cyprus issue,” he concluded.
Costas Mavridis, DIKO MEP and member of the group of the progressive alliance of Socialists and Democrats, said that the joint convergence of states in a pan-European response to both challenges and problems (pandemic, economy and climate change) is a success.
However, he noted that there are contradictions regarding the treatment of social problems due to the pandemic. “Even as we speak today, we do not have quantitative criteria, so that member states are obliged to include social criteria for dealing with the crisis, while there are specific indicators for both the environment and the economy,” he said.
Mr Mavridis spoke of ongoing contradictions in dealing with countries such as Russia and Belarus, as opposed to Turkey. “There can be no doubt that we have a classic example of different management of men, and obviously because that is what Turkey's interests indicate,” he said.
He also noted that while there is a legal framework for sanctions in case of non-freedom of the press in Turkey and while the President of the Commission referred to the need to respect freedom of the press in third countries, for Turkey there is talk of “new gifts to upgrade trade relations with Turkey ».
Finally, Dimitris Papadakis, also a member of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, said in his own statements that the EU is a pioneer in the field of climate change, presenting the green agreement (the EU to become climate neutral by 2050), despite the fact that the EU is responsible for only 10% of global pollution.
“So the other poles must join, if we want to save the planet,” said Mr. Papadakis, recalling the loss of forest areas from catastrophic wildfires in Europe attributed to climate change.
Mr. Papadakis pointed to the major deficits that Cyprus presents in the issue of green transition, especially in transport due to the lack of an efficient public transport system.
Regarding the absence of reports in Turkey despite the provocations against Cyprus, Mr. Papadakis said that there is a “huge gap” in the sphere of foreign policy and that “there is no player on the geopolitical chessboard called the EU”.
“Players are Russia, China and even Turkey, and they are trying to become the United States again after retreating under the Trump administration. “Europe is exhausted at giving the Sakharov Prizes every year and we think that is how it does foreign policy,” he said.
So, we need to know what we are asking of Europe, of course there are some things it can do and impose on Turkey, but our expectations should be low and we should not expect it to play the role we have in mind, he concluded.
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