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What Next for the Cyprus Problem: Towards a “European” Solution?

Thursday May 4, 2006, at 12:00
Sala Seminario - Planta Baja IBEI
Research seminar
Stelios Stavridis (Intercollege Nicosia)
A generally accepted view in the academic literature argues that the EU´s enlargement policy provides for stabilization and democratization among applicant states, thus contributing to peace in the geographical regions concerned. Central and Eastern European countries are cited as recent examples of such a process following the historic events of 1989-1991. Previous examples include Greece and the Iberian countries in the 1970s. Now that Cyprus has joined the EU and that Turkey has begun its accession negotiations, there is a need for a fresh assessment of the role that the EU has played in the Eastern Mediterranean. Has the Union contributed to peace and stability in the region? The paper argues that in both cases (Cyprus and Turkey), the EU has not acted in such a positive way, or at least not in such a fundamentally positive way as in other cases because of at least two fundamental reasons: first, by giving unequivocal backing to the Annan Plan, the EU has contributed to its failure because such a position did not take into account many of its flaws, in particular those that favoured a legitimization of military invasion and occupation. In that respect, this paper questions the commonly accepted view that the responsibility for not achieving a solution to the Cyprus Problem in the spring of 2004 lies exclusively with the Greek-Cypriots´ rejection of the Annan Plan. Second, by granting a date for the opening of accession negotiations to Turkey in December 2004 and then by actually proceeding with its launch on 3 October 2005, the Union continues to ignore fundamental international law and democratic principles about military invasions and occupations. Neither developments contribute to peace and stability in the region. In light of these developments, it is important to qualify substantially the claim that the Union´s enlargement policy is necessarily promoting peace and stability.