OPINION

A European protectorate

Early in the bicommunal talks, it became clear that Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was retreating to his familiar positions. It is highly unlikely that there will be any significant progress, not even when Greece and Turkey resume negotiations. It seems that the plan to go before the two separate referenda will be the Annan blueprint, save a few marginal changes. Following the New York agreement, the Greek Cypriots are presented with two options: Either accept a problematic solution or reject a plan – a move that will most likely lead to full partition. The Annan plan proposes a non-functional solution which, on many points, veers off the EU acquis communautaire. It could result in a series of deadlocks that could, in turn, beget unpredictable crises. The UN plan would turn Cyprus into a peculiar protectorate. Let it, at least, then turn into a European one. This means adapting the plan to the acquis communautaire and ensuring that the three foreign members of the Supreme Court will be designated by the European tribunal or the Commission. Unless this condition is met, the plan must be torpedoed. Only if this condition is included can there be an expectation – not certainty – that the momentum of European integration will gradually overcome the snags included in the Annan plan and extract Turkish Cypriots from Ankara’s grip. Even if the problematic wedding leads to a divorce, this would rather take place within the EU context. The Turkish Cypriots will win recognition and the Greek Cypriots land (provided that the returned territory will be under UN administration during the transitory period). In any case, Greek Cypriots will share a border with a small Turkish-Cypriot statelet rather than Turkey.