Sunday, 15 March 2009

Accommodating the Cyprus issue in the European Union's political and legal order


Friday 13 March 2009

London School of Economics
European Institute

Accommodating the Cyprus issue in the
European Union's political and legal order

By Nikos Skoutaris,
European University Institute, Florence, Italy
Professor Takis Tridimas in the chair

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Extended Abstract:

Despite the partial normalisation of the relations between the two ethno-religious segments on the island, Cyprus’ accession to the EU neither meant its reunification nor the restoration of the human rights or the complete lift of the political and economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community. Ironically enough, the accession of the island to the EU added a new dimension to its division. According to Protocol 10 on Cyprus of the Act of Accession 2003, although the Republic of Cyprus joined the Union with its entire territory, due to the fact that its Government cannot exercise effective control over the whole island, pending a settlement, the application of the acquis is ‘suspended in those areas of the Republic of Cyprus in which the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not have effective control.

The scope of the paper is twofold: on the one hand it provides for a concise but accurate analytical framework of the derogations to the suspension of the acquis and on the other, it assesses the pragmatic approach that the Union has adopted when dealing with issues arising from the conflict such as the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, the “settlers” etc. In other words, it provides for a critique of the seemingly depoliticised and overly technical approach of the Union with which the EU has tried to absorb some of the stresses of the partition of the island by offering a mechanism that has enhanced the lives of most of the inhabitants on the island.

The main thesis of the paper (that consists of a summary of the outcomes of my doctoral research) is that although the application of the acquis is suspended in northern Cyprus, the territorial character of the suspension and the adoption of the Green Line Regulation and the instrument of financial support have allowed a limited integration of the areas not under the effective control of the Republic within the EU. In addition and with regard to a possible future settlement of the Cyprus issue, the paper argues that the Union is ‘ready to accommodate the terms of such a settlement in line with the principles on which the EU is founded.’ In other words, despite the foreseeable existence of tensions between a solution that would be based on the principles of bi-zonality, bi-communality and political equality and the Union legal order, the EU is willing and capable of accommodating the possible derogations from the acquis that such solution could entail.

Nikos Skoutaris is a Researcher in the Department of Law of the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) and Research Assistant of the Academy of European Law. He has worked as a specialist on the Cyprus issue and has published several articles on the interrelationship of the Cyprus issue and the Union legal order in legal journals and edited volumes. His latest article is “The application of the acquis communautaire in the Areas not under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus: The Green Line Regulation” 45(3) Common Market Law Review (2008) 727

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Dr Zenon Stavrinides
General Secretary, Association for Cypriot,

Greek and Turkish Affairs
8 Ganners Mount, Leeds LS13 2PE, Great Britain
Tel: 0113 256 8907 Mobile: 07790 107353

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