OPINION

Different readings

The Cyprus solution proposed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan invites two very different readings and this explains, in part at least, the disagreement over whether the plan ought to be adopted or rejected. According to one reading, which those opposed to the plan refer to as «static,» the entire spirit of the proposal, and its provisions, are unacceptable. The proposed governmental structure has no precedent in the world and the land settlement is inapplicable on a practical level, as it serves Turkish objectives of controlling the northern part of the island and influencing the freedoms of the Greek-Cypriot part. In short, the plan must be rejected. According to a second reading, which those in favor of the plan call «dynamic,» there is an understanding of the proposal’s overall shortcomings, but it is also estimated that the benefits of Cyprus’s inclusion in the EU will serve as catalysts to erase all the negative aspects of the UN secretary-general’s plan. Supporters of the «dynamic» reading must, however, recognize that despite the involvement of EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen in the talks in Switzerland, the provisions of the UN’s plan do not take into account the EU’s acquis communautaire – quite the contrary in fact. The commissioner characterized as «European» a solution that is illogical and conforms neither to the legal framework of the Union nor to its basic principles. With his stance, Verheugen confirmed the geopolitical facets of the issue (in that, through Cyprus’s entry into the European Union, the bloc would be compelled to play a more active role in the Middle East), by adopting a proposal clearly developed by the British and the Americans, in direct violation of basic EU principles. Verheugen did not deceive anyone; he simply acted in accordance with reality. After failing to reach a consensus, the issue is now being put to referenda. If the plan is rejected, the problems that have persisted in the area for the past 30 years will continue to do so, but managing them is something for which there is experience. If the plan is accepted, a new set of problems will arise – potentially more serious ones – and it is doubtful whether EU dynamics will be able to unfold within a framework as tight as that of the Annan plan and militate against any potential problems.