OPINION

On Europe’s back

The Cyprus issue cannot be subject to simplification; it is hard to say «yes» and it is even harder to say «no.» For more than four decades, the issue has been an open wound and the focus of much pressure, causing nothing but pain, tears and unfulfilled dreams. After 15 years of Greece and Cyprus following solid strategy in seeking EU membership and international mediation, we are finally faced with the outcome of this very concrete decision. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan, with all its imperfections and functional shortcomings, is simply the result of a policy for loading the Cyprus issue onto Europe. As a source of pressure on Ankara, Europe has been the vehicle for a solution. It is Cyprus’s prospect of EU membership that has yielded this chance and has determined the pressing deadlines of Annan’s proposal. But a number of Greece’s politicians underestimate the current European momentum and instead overestimate all other hindrances that fall short of halting the impetus created by Europe’s integration. Faced with hordes of skeptics, one senses that they come from that heterogeneous bloc that pops up whenever a leap forward is attempted whether in politics, the economy or society. It is this same reactionary bloc – whose tentacles spread across all party lines – that has put up strong resistance or expressed excessive reservations about crucial issues and major changes, such as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia name issue, the identity card controversy, the EMU, economic deregulation, the case of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan and terrorism. They stand for the «leave things as they are» logic. But, when this mentality prevails, countries remain stagnant; they miss out on opportunities; they become marginalized. But this is contrary to what our EU experience has taught us, unless one questions even this self-evident benefit.