CYPRUS
     
Cypriot architecture in old part of Nicosia
Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus (Turkish: Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti), is a Eurasian island country located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon and north of Egypt. Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Since 2004 the Republic of Cyprus is a member of the European Union and since 2008 of the eurozone.

Cyprus has been occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Hittites, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Rashidun and Umayyad Arab caliphates, Lusignans, Venetians, and Ottomans. Settled by Mycenean Greeks in the 2nd millennium BCE, the island also experienced long periods of Greek rule under the Ptolemaic Egyptians and the Byzantines. In 333 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered the island from the Persians. The Ottoman Empire conquered the island in 1571 and it remained under Ottoman control for over three centuries.

It was placed under British administration in 1878 until it was granted independence in 1960, becoming a member of the Commonwealth the following year.

In 1974, following 11 years of intercommunal violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, an attempted coup d'état by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta with the aim of achieving enosis (union of the island with Greece) took place. Turkey used this as a pretext to invade the northern portion of the island.

Turkish forces remained after a cease-fire, resulting in the partition of the island; an objective of Turkey since 1955. The intercommunal violence and subsequent Turkish invasion led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Cypriots and the establishment of a separate Turkish Cypriot political entity in the north.
These events and the resulting political situation are matters of ongoing dispute. As published 25 May 2012 talks downgrade likely to last until elections 2013.

Early in June 2012, Cyprus asked EU support for an amount that was estimated at 6 to 10 billion euros, because of the collapse of the Cypriot banking system, which had lost a lot of money on its Greek government bonds. According to Eurostat, amounts from 2006 to 2011 the total public debt in percent respectively: 64,6 | 58,3 | 48,3 | 58,0 and 69,8, while the deficit (revenue minus expenses, as a percentage of GDP) often showed a sharp deterioration: -/- 1,2 | +/+ 3,4 | +/+ 0,9 | -/- 0,6 and -/- 5,3.

In March 2013 was agreed that Cyprus receives support from the European Stability Mechanism and the IMF. The proposal is to include that savers with money parked in Cypriot banks pay their share to the rescue. This proposal however, was adjusted due to already existing blue prints on a European deposit Insurance and resolution fund'.

 

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Also in June 2012, Cyprus presented the priorities of the Cyprus Presidency. The Presidency will work towards a better Europe, aiming the promotion of social cohesion and growth through efficient policies, on the basis of the principle of
solidarity and for a European Union which will be more relevant to its citizens and to the world, promoting the need for a better quality of life and more employment opportunities, especially for the younger generations.

The basis for the formulation of the following four main priorities is called upon to deal with key issues of the EU agenda:


Deputy Minister to the President for European Affairs: Europe as a filoxenos tops, a hospitable place 1. Europe, more efficient and sustainable;
2. Europe, with a better performing and growth-based economy;
3. Europe, more relevant to its citizens, with solidarity and social cohesion;
4. Europe in the world, closer to its neighbours.

Furthermore, the importance of the negotations of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) aiming to the completion of the negotations by the end of this year was underlined.

Cyprus plans to proceed with a succesful result-oriented Presidency. The rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU is a duty, an obligation and a responsibility carried out by all EU member states. This role entails steering discussions within the Council; deciding the issues to be on the Council agenda; mediating and negotiating on behalf of the Council with other institutions, in particular with the European Parliament; while, at the same time regulating and ensuring consistency and coherence amoung the various poles of political power within the Union.

Setting realistic goals, the Presidency will act as an honest broker, aiming to achieve compromises and successfully achieve progress and reach an agreement on the issues to be discussed during the Presidency 2nd half year 2012. The vision is to promote Europe as a 'filoxenos topos', a hospitable place, not only within the strict sense of the word. 'Filoxenos tops' is part of the vision of Cyprus, is part of forethought for the Presidency, is part of anticipation for a better Europe.
"Filoxenos topos' is part of aspiration of a European Union more relevant to its citizens and in the world. The vision is to promote a hospitable place for enterprises, for ideas, for services, for
innovation, for culture.

On 18th September 2011, Cyprus began exploration drilling in site 12, in its exclusive economic zone with reference to hydrocarbons. Noble Energy which is conducting the exploration drilling expects some first indications of the possible existence of hydrocarbon reserves by beginning-middle of December. To the extent that the first indications are positive, an appraisal process will follow to establish the composition and size of the reservoir.

Prior to the exploration activity, an Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out on the basis of the relevant criteria of Annex III of Directive 85/337/EEC. Furthermore the Republic of Cyprus is proceeding shortly to the 2nd round of licensing for exploration and production with reference to the other sites that have been delineated in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus. In the meantime, the Government is in the process of defining long term strategic planning in the area of hydrocarbons and hence of examining the next steps needed to be taken with reference to the way that reserves will be exploited once they are found.

The Republic of Cyprus ratified in 1988 the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. A number of agreements have been signed between the Republic of Cyprus and its neighbouring countries. An agreement for the Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone was signed between Cyprus and the Arab Republic of Egypt, based on the median-line principle and in accordance with the provisions of the UNCLOS ’82. Similar, agreements have been signed with Lebanon and the State of Israel.
The Republic of Cyprus and the Arab Republic of Egypt have also signed a Framework Agreement concerning the development of cross-median line hydrocarbon resources.

To the extent that hydrocarbon reserves are identified in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, then new, wide and bright prospects open for both the current and future generations of Cypriots. At the same time, Cyprus will be in a position to contribute to the energy security of Europe through the provision of additional sources of energy and through its possible participation in new energy infrastructure linking Europe to sources of energy.

With regard to the benefits that will accrue once hydrocarbons are identified and exploited, I would like to reiterate the words of President Christofias that the Turkish Cypriots are citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and as such they can enjoy within the framework of a reunited homeland the benefits of any natural wealth that Cyprus has. The President furthermore indicated that the exploitation of any possible natural gas reserves in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus can potentially motivate the attainment of a solution to the Cyprus problem soon, so that all the Cypriot people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, can benefit from any positive development.

The President furthermore added that Turkey has a lot to benefit from the solution of the Cyprus problem, since the solution will lead to the normalization of relations with Turkey, to cooperation between the two countries and to the conclusion of agreements between the two in various areas, including in the energy sector. Turkey now has a golden opportunity to prove itself to be a true peacemaker in the area of the Eastern Mediterranean, by respecting the sovereignty rights of all EU member states, through both words and actions; and by truly contributing to the success of the peace process with reference to Cyprus through the encouragement of the Turkish Cypriot leadership to work for an agreed solution of the Cyprus problem that will be reunifying Cyprus on the basis of the commonly agreed basis of a bizonal, bicommunal Federation with political equality as this is defined in relevant UN resolutions.

A bright horizon of peace, cooperation and economic growth will then open for the area of the Eastern Mediterranean to the benefit not only of the countries and peoples of the area but also to the benefit of our wider European family. In shaping the world of today and tomorrow through their decisions on energy issues, visionary leaders will aim at improving the prospects of both current and future generations in terms both of economic and social development and of sustainability and certainly in terms of establishing and strengthening peaceful and hence productive international relations.
(Council of the EU, Brussels 18 November 2011).