OPINION

EU gap over Turkey

The comments by the French ambassador to Nicosia, Hadelin de La Tour-du-Pin, in an interview with the Cypriot Politis newspaper published Wednesday were harsh but useful in dissolving delusions. Tour-du-Pin said that his government «would demand from the Republic of Cyprus to accept the draft counter-declaration, which was prepared by the British presidency,» adding that there is no point in Cyprus being a member of the bloc if it cannot trust the EU. That does not mean to say that diplomatic efforts by Athens and Nicosia over the past couple of months have been fruitless, since their joint pressure has helped put the Cyprus issue high on the EU agenda. The warnings of the French envoy fell on deaf ears while the draft counter-declaration to Ankara’s refusal to recognize the Republic of Cyprus failed to win approval by EU diplomats. The outcome underscores that not all official statements carry the same weight… The ulterior motive of the French initiative was to undermine the British presidency of the EU and Tony Blair’s economic stewardship of other Western nations, particularly France, during the six-month tenure. Mission accomplished. Britain has had to spent most of its time on an issue that was essentially closed last December. After Paris got what it wanted, it cooperated with London to formulate a joint position. The main loser, of course, is neither Nicosia nor Ankara. It’s the Union itself. After six weeks, the bloc still has to reach a compromise on a counter-declaration to Turkey that will be in line with the principles and interests of its members.