OPINION

Say yes, on three conditions

The declaration of the breakaway Turkish-Cypriot state in 1983 brought Greek efforts to partially reunify the island (in the context of a bizonal federation) to a deadlock. In an attempt to reinforce Cyprus’s international position and to overcome the impasse in bicommunal talks, the Greek side pushed for the island’s EU membership. Now that Cyprus stands on the EU threshold, the UN plan comes to dissolve illusions over partial reunification. The plan is closer to a confederal than a federal solution. Thus it foresees an inflexible, non-functional state. As a result, the «solution or partition» dilemma is a false one. Greek Cypriots are called to choose between the partial partition which is proposed by Kofi Annan’s plan and full partition. The decision is a tough one. Annan’s blueprint is not a functional one and it diverges from the EU’s acquis communautaire. This could entrap Greek Cypriots into a vicious circle of deadlocks which could, in turn, trigger a crisis with unpredictable consequences. If the issue of EU membership were not at stake, the plan would have been rejected out of hand. The prospect of accession, however, leaves the hope that the momentum of European integration could gradually help overcome the hindrances raised by the Annan plan and wean the Turkish-Cypriot community away from Ankara. The two options cannot be comprehensively assessed here, but given the decision by the Greek side to negotiate, it should tie an ultimate acceptance to at least three changes to the plan. First, the three foreign judges of the court must be Europeans and be picked by the EU. Second, the return of the occupied territories should take place immediately, not in three years. Third, the Greek side must press to change the proposed border line, abolishing the two narrow Turkish-Cypriot enclaves southeast of Nicosia, and also to return more coastline.