The KKTC has been trying to establish stronger relations with the EU for years. It established the KKTC Coordination Center during Eroğlu’s time as prime minister and this center has been attempting to harmonize with EU regulations, Eroğlu told reporters ahead of his departure -- in a bid to explain his administration’s commitment to eventually becoming an EU member.
Direct Trade Regulations and the EU’s unfulfilled promise of easing the isolation of Turkish Cypriots will be at the center of talks with Belgium Foreign Minister Stevan Vanackere, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the bloc, and other EU officials, Eroğlu said, while adding: “We will convey our wishes for fulfillment of whatever was promised, and once more remind [the EU officials] of these promises.”
The EU unveiled a plan to ease the isolation of Turkish Cypriots by establishing direct trade with the KKTC after they voted for the UN plan -- led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan -- to reunite the island. The plan was never implemented because of opposition from several members, including Greek Cyprus, which joined the EU a few days after the Greek Cypriots rejected the same UN plan in a simultaneous referendum in April 2004.
Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou has suggested that his government has no choice other than blocking Turkey’s EU membership, if the direct trade regulation between the EU and the KKTC is approved.
“… And this will necessarily spell an end to efforts for finding a resolution to the Cyprus dispute,” Kyprianou was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency on Sunday in an interview with the Greek daily Kathimerini.
Recalling that the Direct Trade Regulation is expected to be discussed at the Legal Committee of the European Parliament, Kyprianou argued that “those who believe that they will be helping Turkey along its EU process, by approving this regulation, are making a mistake.”
According to the Greek Cypriot media, there are doubts whether the Legal Committee has a say in the regulations which would allow for direct trade between KKTC and the EU under the new terms of the Treaty of Lisbon. The European Commission argues that the Parliament’s International Trade Committee is the body that decides whether to pass the regulations or not, the same reports say.