OPINION

Urgent issues

The prospect of EU and NATO enlargement by the end of this year has lent an urgency to two of Greece’s foreign policy issues: the top priority, which is the ongoing Cyprus problem, and the subordinate issue regarding Europe’s nascent rapid reaction force. For the first time, the Greek government is feeling the consequences of the international interest which it always sought to stir. The decision at the EU’s Helsinki summit which disconnected the process of Cyprus’s EU accession from the resolution of the island’s political dispute, and which pledged to re-examine the situation if no solution were reached after the end of the accession negotiations, was portrayed as the greatest success of Greek diplomacy. Today the situation is clearly complex and the question posed is whether the ostensible advantage of Cyprus’s EU entry is a vehicle for adopting a solution which will in effect recognize, even provisionally, the sovereignty of the breakaway state on the northern section of the island and thereby legitimate the situation created by the Turkish invasion in 1974. There is no doubt that the prospect of Cyprus’s EU accession infused fresh momentum toward a solution of the political problem, but should the outcome be the final division of the island or a solution that recognizes two sovereign states or entities, then we will have to question whether the goal of Greek policy was indeed achieved…