Cyprus

Cyprus in Europe

Description of Cyprus

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes cyprus in the following terms: [1] A former British protectorate which gained its independence in 1960 only after an armed struggle, Cyprus is divided between a Greek Cypriot majority, which has often sought union with Greece, and a smaller Turkish minority (around 20% of the population), which has close links to Turkey. Turkish-Greek relations have been hostile for centuries, and in 1974 Turkish forces invaded the northern part of the island, where their compatriots were concentrated. Since then Cyprus has been partitioned. In 1983 the Turkish sector, which constitutes over a third of the island’s territory and has attracted considerableimmigration, declared itself the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)’. Neither the EU nor the UN, however, recognises the legitimacy of the TRNC.

Since 1973, the year before the invasion, Cyprus has had an Association Agreement with the Community, and in 1990 the Greek Cypriot government applied to join the Eu (see more in this European encyclopedia). The Turkish Cypriots supported the idea but rejected the government’s right to represent them. The Commission’s opinion was favourable from the economic standpoint, but cautious politically. Indeed, it is evident that a heavily militarised and partitioned island would not make a suitable member state.

Nevertheless, there are some grounds for optimism. In 1999 Turkey was itself accepted in principle as a candidate for eventual membership of the EU and its relationship with Greece began to improve (see more in this European encyclopedia). With nearly twice the population of Luxembourg and a GDP per head similar to those of Portugal and Greece, Cyprus is more than a microstate (see more in this European encyclopedia). It would probably qualify for EMU and has made good progress towards creating a customs union with the Community. Thus it is likely that Cyprus will be granted accession to the EU if the constitutional impasse can be resolved peacefully.

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Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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