Interview with Denmarks representative to Cyprus Mr. Johansen:
Mr. Johansen, representative of Danish Presidency in Cyprus. Welcome to our studios and thanks for giving us this opportunity to go into the details of what Copenhagen has brought to Cyprus and to Turkey which is also important for us.
First of all sir, how can we interpret the EU council decision, conclusion of Copenhagen on Cyprus from the Turkish Cypriot point of view?
The decision taken at the European Council in Copenhagen are based on the Helsinki Conclusion in 1999, that Cyprus would be welcomed in the EU. European Union would prefer it to be a united island, when it exceeded the union, but it was also said it was a low pre-condition. So what ensured from the Copenhagen EU Council, there is a natural consequence of that decision taking in Helsinki. But to answer your question directly, how we can an assess of the outcome in Copenhagen. I think it is a positive development, its a positive resolution for both parts of the island. And if you look at the detail of the resolutions, you have seen that the council invited the Commission to fund raising means to improve the strengthening economic development in the North part of Cyprus in an effort to bring up to the level of Southern part.
Having all, my clear impression is that a positive decision was made in Copenhagen for the both parts of Cyprus. And that it promises to lead to positive future developments.
But when we look at the decisions we see, or rather Turkish Cypriots see that the Republic of Cyprus which we believe that does not represent the Turkish Cypriots, the Republic of Cyprus has been admitted to the EU and Turkish Cypriots feel that there left out. And if this example, if the example fits, we fear that this situation might lead the German example. Where West Germany joined to the EU and East Germany collapsed economically, socially, and morally and then the fall down of the wall and join the EU. That is an approach which gives fear to the Turkish Cypriots, do you think this would lead such an conclusion?
I see your point that I think that the conclusion going from the German example cannot be applied directly to the Cyprus all. Actually I do not think it can be applied to Cyprus. As we all know, negotiations between to parts of island had been ongoing for quite a long time. They have been intensified over past year and year and half under the guidance of the United Nations, you mentioned earlier that you have had interview in this room with Mr. De Soto. So we all know the details of the negotiations, as a mentioned earlier that it was definitely the hope of the EU, of the EU Council in Copenhagen that it would be possible for the island to access to the EU as a reunited island, whereby Northern parts of the island would be able to negotiate developments here directly. Unfortunately it did not come true. But as I understand the outcome of the Copenhagen, it was very close actually to a solution. And as I also understand those negotiations will continue. There is a will I think, I feel clearly on the other side to continue these negotiations. A new deadline, may be its not a deadline, certain time limit has been set for the negotiations to continue and I think there is a real possibility of finding a solution within that time period. And provided that is the case and the reason that I am optimistic about is that the basis for a negotiations will be still the UN plan. These are issues that had been discussed for number of years. My opinion definitely is that, this is may be the best possible compromise that could be achieved. Of course, details have to worked out, have to be negotiated and it seems as if negotiations are going to resumed in the near future. If the outcome of that negotiations process is severe hope, than we will have to politically equal parts of Cyprus, entering the EU and discussing their common future. So, I am not that defeatist about the issue. I do not think that The German Solution will be the solution for Cyprus.
We see that the Copenhagen Council express the strong will that the negotiations will continue on the basis of Annan Plan and the solution is reach by the end of the February. That what it happens. We will see in the couple few weeks.
Now, from Cyprus I want to jump to Turkey. There is a decision on Turkey as well taking in Copenhagen, that the Council in December 2004 will look at the situation and it if decides Turkey fulfill the Copenhagen criteria, accession talk will start. What does that mean?
That means that ... Actually let me start by saying that this is a very positive development for Turkey, and its a great achievement for the New government which I think actually that the new Turkish government releases, I now the immediate reaction to the Copenhagen decision but an assessment of the progress should be made on end of the 2004, was initially a disappointment. But I think after having repundantly(?) the outcome Turkish government agrees that it is a positive development. And the Copenhagen criteria, yes... important steps have been taking by Turkish government since the beginning of August this year, number of important laws have been passed by parliament. What has been said all along, friendly is that the most important part of it will be the implementation of the new laws, that should held up against of the Copenhagen criteria. And although the Turkish government had hoped for a date in a 2003 but honestly, its a great work that lies ahead. So I think it is actually better to have a date a little for that in the future instead of being in the necessity of saying towards the end of 2003, unfortunately we didnt make it. We will have to make it. Now there is a date. There is a realistic date. There is a date before which it will be possible for Turkish government to implement the laws call for. So thats why I say it is very positive. Because there is a date and it was said after that accession negotiations will start.
One of the reasons of Turkish government insist on getting a date sometime in 2003 was that in may 2004, 10 members will be joining physically EU. And after that May 2004 the decision mechanism of EU will be include these 10 members states as well. And especially these new members may veto Turkeys accessions to the EU for their own purposes and for economic reasons or other, this was one of the fears that was expressed by the Turkish government. What do you have to say to that?
I will say that technically speaking of course you are right. Right, the members countries, as well as the old member countries have the possibility have of the detail a decision of that kind. But one thing is what is technically possible and another thing is what politically acceptable. I think in the present situation and also in the situation that would arise in 2004 it would be politically very difficult for the EU countries and also for the new members to veto a decision to start accession negotiations with Turkey, provided of course that Turkey has proved that it fulfills the Copenhagen criteria that would be going against very sprit of the Copenhagen criteria. And personally, I don not think that a situation like that could arise, although as I said technically is possible, but politically, no. I do not believe it.
I see. Since Turkeys respective of Europe is important for us, because whether there is a solution in Cyprus or not, whatever happens we would want to see Turkey with us in the same platform. Its very important for Turkey to improves her relations with EU.
Mr. thank you very much sir for accepting our offer from this interview. I hope our ..... a little more enlightenment about the Copenhagen Conclusions.
It has been a pleasure for me and privileged to be able to explain a little more in-depth about European Copenhagen Council meeting .
Thank you very much sir.