The belief that there is still hope for a European solution to the Cyprus problem, was expressed on Monday by the Vice President of the European Commission, responsible for the promotion of the European way of life, Margaritis Schoinas during a discussion at the University of Cyprus.
The discussion entitled, “A Europe that protects, a Europe that opens roads and opportunities”, was organized by the University of Cyprus, the Delegation of the European Commission in Cyprus and Europe Direct Nicosia & # 8211; University of Cyprus.
Answering questions during the event on issues related to the Cyprus issue and the EU's support for Turkish violations, Mr. Schoinas said that when one looks at the course of Cyprus in the EU, from 2004 until today, it is proof that the EU “acted as a springboard and shield”.
He said that he sees a strong Cyprus, which is firmly on its feet, with the support of the EU, but that “perhaps it must overcome this syndrome that” everyone is preparing to swallow us. ” It is not so easy, he said, adding, among other things, that the differences between Cyprus and Turkey are matters of Euro-Turkish affairs and are managed within this broader context. He added that the EU had created a framework of incentives and sanctions for Turkey, which had eased tensions over the challenges in the region.
Regarding the Cyprus issue and the EU's role in refugee rights, Answering a question, he said that “the future of Cyprus and the reunification of the island is in the hands of the Cypriots”. No one will do it for you, he said.
“If the Cypriots decide on the terms of a reunited Cyprus, the reunited state will have to function from day one as a member of the EU and the Eurozone,” he said. This means that there can be no deviation from the European acquis and Europe will not be able to stop “in order for the reunited Cyprus to consult what and how”. The big winners of a European solution will be the Cypriots and the EU, he said, expressing confidence that “the hope for such a development has not yet been lost.”
Asked why the EU does not decide to suspend Turkey's accession process as it is not fulfilling its accession obligations, Schinas said that doing so requires a decision by a majority of Member States, but is not expected to be done. because perhaps many Members believe that in the future, in a “post-Erdogan Turkey”, political processes may emerge to thaw the accession process that has been frozen since 2007.
In his initial statement, Mr. Schoinas expressed his admiration for the University of Cyprus, which, as he said, has nothing to envy from other European universities.
He also said that he is “a child of education “Since his parents were teachers, philologists and are a product of the public Greek education system, emphasizing that when he talks about education, he speaks experientially.
Mr. Schoinas said that the dialogue for the future of Europe should not concern the experts, not Brussels, but be bottom-up.
Referring to his role as EU Vice-President for the Promotion of the European Lifestyle, he said that there were reactions at first, because many probably thought that this meant that they would impose the European way of life.
According to Schoinas, the European way of life is not dogmatic, but “a mirror that reflects everything that makes us proud as Europeans and an object of admiration around the world.” These are, he said, the fact that in the 27 democracies of the Union, minorities are protected within the rule of law in all national systems, the role of women is enshrined in the family, in society and in the labor market, they have universal health and education systems for all. “We are the world champions of human rights and data protection, we take care of our elderly and we do not have the death penalty,” he added.
Mr Schoinas referred to the successful way the EU handled the pandemic, calling it “a miracle”, but also to the need for Europe to have an immigration policy and the need for solidarity between Member States on this issue.
He also spoke about education and mobility programs and referred to Erasmus + and that about 9 million young people have benefited so far, while for the next seven years they will double funding for Erasmus programs to € 25 billion.
Mr. Schoinas also said that at the moment there is a need for many Europeans trained in IT, cybersecurity, environmental engineers, tourism, primary production. He said they were discussing a legal immigration program to enable third-country nationals with these skills to work in the EU but also to motivate young Europeans to enter the skills market.
Referring to the students who were in the audience, he expressed the hope “not to be in a position to fight to secure what our generation found data”. “Do not take these conquests for granted,” he said, adding that the responsibility to protect them rests on their shoulders.
In his speech, the Rector of the University, Tassos Christofidis, stressed the importance of public participation , because, he said, “what happens at the political level affects and concerns the citizen”.
He said that the EU remains the greatest social and political achievement of the European Continent, after the Second World War.
Referring to the role of the EU for the operation of universities, Mr. Christofides referred to the positive impact of European universities, to achieve wider goals of the Union. The vision of European universities, he said, in which the University of Cyprus is a key player through the YUFE Young Universities Alliance, is to connect European universities in a way that offers joint programs, participates in joint research activities and offers to the community in more than one campus.
Mr. Christofides gave Mr. Schoinas an engraving of the Cypriot artist Euclides Papadopoulos, while Mr. Schoinas answered questions from the public.
In question why the EU does not make Cyprus based on at least one European Organization, but also the fact that young people from the European South are forced to emigrate to find jobs abroad, Mr. Schoinas said that the EU single internal market was created for to be able to work, travel and reside equally in any Member State they want.
He also believes that Cyprus can claim a European agency. “Do not have the impression that this will solve the problem of unemployment, but it will certainly be semantic,” he said. The discussion was moderated by the journalist Christos Michalaros.