EU to launch direct trade links with Northern Cyprus

Acknowledging the Turkish Cypriot ‘yes’ vote in the 24 April referendum, the EU is set to establish direct trade ties with the Northern part of Cyprus.

The Commission is preparing to establish direct trade
relations between the EU and the self-styled Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus. A proposal to this effect is scheduled to be
launched in late June.

According to Enlargement Commissioner Günter
Verheugen, "The idea is to find a solution that will not only
facilitate the trade between the northern part and the Republic of
Cyprus but will also allow direct trade from the northern part of
Cyprus to the EU".

Currently there are no trade relations between
the EU and the Turkish Northern Cyprus, which is recognised only by
Turkey. Meanwhile, the EU has already approved an economic aid
package worth 259 million euro to Northern Cyprus (see


The proposal amounts to an acknowledgement by
the EU of the acceptance by the Turkish Cypriots on 24 April of a
UN reunification plan which the Greek Cypriots voted against in the
same referendum.

Regarding Turkey's quest for EU membership, Mr
Verheugen has praised the legislative reform package approved by
Ankara as representing "very impressive progress". Talking to
journalists after the 43rd meeting of the EU-Turkey Partnership
Council in Brussels on 18 May, Mr Verheugen said that the EU still
remains troubled by the shortcomings in the implementation of these


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