Cyprus: A Deal To Be Done

The divided island of Cyprus hangs like a giant question mark over the future shape of Europe. Can a deal be done to bring a reunited island on board, or must the consequences of failure be faced?

The World Today Published 1 October 2002 Updated 23 October 2020 4 minute READ

George Vassiliou

was President of the Republic of Cyprus, 1988-1993

This month the European Commission is due to recommend which countries are ready to join the European Union (EU).

In December the Council of ministers will decide on those allowed to become members in the next wave of enlargement due in 2004.

At first sight, Cyprus’s prospects of being admitted in the first wave are good: negotiations have practically been completed; legal harmonisation is well on target, with more than five hundred pieces of legislation already approved by parliament; and implementation is progressing as planned.

However, Cyprus’s status as a divided island continues to cast a shadow over its future. Hopes that a solution was just around the corner, which rose at the beginning of the year when the leader of Northern Cyprus, Rauf Denktash, agreed to resume inter-communal talks, have not been realised. The two sides have met regularly two or three times a week since January, but there has been no progress.

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