|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||12/10/95, Volume 1, Number 04|
EFFORTS to prepare Malta and Cyprus for European Union membership are to receive a boost following the European Parliament's approval this week of two financial packages worth a total of 119 million ecu over a four-year period.
“This money adds weight to the accession process. It will help Cyprus in its efforts to take on board EU laws and policies,” said one Cypriot diplomat close to the issue.
A last-minute cloud which had hung over the aid packages was dispelled when the EuropeanCommission reassured MEPs that a cut in the amount of money granted in 1995 would be made up in coming years.
Cyprus and Malta will receive 74 million ecu and 45 million ecu respectively in EU grants and loans from the European Investment Bank over the next four years. Both countries having been waiting in the wings since 1990 when they applied for EU membership. Although the Commission has not made the solution of problems stemming from the division of Cyprus after a Turkish invasion in 1974 a condition of membership, it has made it clear that a resolution of the dispute would be welcome.
“The ball is now in Turkey's court, but even if we do not reach an agreement on Cyprus we are not going to be hamstrung. The EU has made it clear that it won't allow its relations with a third country to be dictated by Turkey,” said a Cypriot diplomat.
Turkey has already brokered a customs deal with the Commission, but it could be scuppered by the European Parliament if Ankara fails to satisfy MEPs' demands for an improvement in the country's human rights record.
Malta's problems are mainly of an economic nature. It has been told by the EU it must open up its closed economy before it can join the single market. But, according to one Maltese source, Maltese industry would wilt in the face of stiff European competition. “These high tariff barriers will have to be let down very, very slowly,” he said.
Negotiations are due to start within six months of the end of the Intergovernmental Conference review of the Maastricht Treaty.
|Subject Categories||Internal Markets, Politics and International Relations|
|Countries / Regions||Cyprus, Malta|