Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from Niyazi Eren


  British and EU utterances on Cyprus, if continued, will do irreparable damage to the talks initiated by Mr. Denktas. The direct talks started in good faith on 16 January 2002 must be given a chance to succeed. The British and the EU must stop rocking the boat.

  It is often emphasised by the EU (and endorsed by Britain) that a solution to the Cyprus problem is not a precondition for Cyprus to become a member of the EU. This is a point which is legally in dispute. There is a substantial body of legal opinion which states that this would be against the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. Only a judicial review can settle this legal issue. But more to the point is the fact that this is also not what is written in the Helsinki Agreement. The British and the EU are acting irresponsibly and indeed against their own stated principles (see below) in adopting this position. The EU and Britain must exert equal pressure on both parties and not on the Turkish Cypriots alone. This can easily be done by emphasising the more relevant conditions set down by the Helsinki European Council Report, 10 & 11 December 1999 paragraph 4 namely:

    1.  "The candidate States are participating in the accession process on an equal footing"

    2.  "They must share the values and objectives of the European Union as set out in the Treaties. In this respect the European Council stresses the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the United Nations Charter and urges candidate States to make every effort to resolve any outstanding border disputes and other related issues."

    3.  "Failing this they should within a reasonable time bring the dispute to the International Court of Justice.

    4.  "The European Council will review the situation relating to any outstanding disputes, in particular concerning the repercussions on the accession process and in order to promote their settlement through the International Court of Justice, at the latest by the end of 2004."

  Paragraph 9(b) of the above Report states as follows:

    "The European Council underlines that a political settlement will facilitate the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. If no settlement has been reached by the completion of accession negotiations, the Council's decision on accession will be made without the above being a precondition. In this the Council will take account of all relevant factors."

  This paragraph properly read does not negate paragraph 4 above. All it means is that a decision on accession will be made whether there is a solution or not, and whilst making this decision all relevant factors will be taken into account, including the fact that there has not been a solution. Indeed, since "the Council underlines that a political settlement will facilitate the accession of Cyprus to the EU", logically, it could be argued (and no doubt will be by some when the time comes) that a non-settlement will not facilitate its accession, because that is one of the factors to be taken into account together with the factors emphasised in paragraph 4 above. There can be no other interpretation of Paragraph 9(b). Otherwise, Paragraph 4 would serve no purpose at all and it might as well have been left out altogether.

  How can the EU advocate that Cyprus will become a full member of the EU, divided as it is, and without a solution, given the fact that a solution is indeed one of the relevant factors to be decided on, as clearly stated in the Helsinki Report quoted above? The EU and Britain should stop pre-empting the EU Council's decision. They should confine their comments to what is stated in the Helsinki Agreement which is binding all signatories including Turkey. Only thus can the EU make a positive contribution towards a lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Niyazi Eren

January 2002

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