EU enlargement might be the last chance for the re-unification of Cyprus, states a new report by the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). Negotiations between the Cypriot Greeks and Turks re-started in January this year to discuss the future of the island, divided between the Greeks and Turks for the last 28 years.
The report warns that the accession of the divided island, with only the Greek part enjoying EU membership in practice, would have grave consequences for EU-Turkish relations. If Cyprus does not accede, however, the entire EU enlargement could founder on a Greek veto, states CEPS.
The authors, Michael Emerson and Natalie Tocci, argue in favour of a simultaneous re-unification and accession of the island to the EU. The CEPS report suggests the following solutions:
- a single Cypriot UN and EU Member State;
- a three-tier political structure – EU, the common state and the two constituent states;
- some adjustment of the territorial border in favour of the Greek Cypriot community would resolve a substantial part of the refugee return problem, with property compensation arrangements for most of the others;
- international security guarantees and a peace-keeping presence for some time, whilst the island is progressively de-militarised.