NEWS

Cyprus to OK Turk EU bid

MADRID (Reuters) – The Cypriot government will not block Turkey’s bid to join the EU, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said in an interview published yesterday. Papadopoulos, who fiercely campaigned in an April referendum against a UN plan to unify the Mediterranean island, also said it would take Cyprus at least three years to adopt the euro currency after joining the EU on May 1 this year. The EU is to decide at a December summit whether Turkey has made enough progress on human rights and political freedoms to begin long-delayed entry talks. Any one of the EU’s 25 members could veto the process. «Cyprus is not going to introduce any obstacles to beginning the process of Turkey’s entry in the European Union,» Papadopoulos told El Pais newspaper. A divided Cyprus entered the EU after some 76 percent of Greek Cypriots rejected the UN reunification plan, while Turkish Cypriots approved the UN blueprint. Asked about the timing of its entry into the 12-nation eurozone, Papadopoulos said high deficits and a weak tourism sector following the September 11 2001 attacks on the United States would delay this. «We need at least three years… It will be difficult to introduce the euro before 2008,» he said.