Commissioner of Diamantopoulou, Commissioner responsible for employment and social affairs thank you very much granting us with this interview.
Thank you very much.
My first question will be I saw you at the Ledra Palace check point where Turkish and Greek Cypriots are crossing over. You saw the events yourself, with your own eyes. What did you feel? What are your feeling about it? How do you think this will influence the political situation in Cyprus?
Lets start with my personal feelings. Because it was really an experience, I kept visited this place so many times and I always felt so frustrated. You could feel this frustrated atmosphere. And now things so different, so relax. Cypriots cross the borders with no problems, joking with each other. I really felt that something has changed. There is a big change.
Now politically, opening the crossing point was a positive development. It has created a lot of emotions to both sides. It has made clear that these illusions that people cannot live together do not exist. People can live together and this is the will. But of course, I must say that we must not believe that this a solution because this is not a solution. This is a very positive step and I could say that if the Cyprus problem is a car which has to be moved this is just the fuel. The engine is the procedures, the leaders of both sides and the UN and in this way we must go for final solution.
Do you think European Union will contribute to solution of the Cyprus and How?
I believe that now its more obvious than in the past that European Union can and will play a very important role. I said can and will because of course there are concrete reasons to why we can and will because it demonstrate its will to participate in a very actively to the final settlement of this problem.
What can a European Union do? First of all we must accept that all these procedures towards the accession of Cyprus into the European Union was catalyst. I think we can see that all these changes happened after 16 of April when the decision was final one. This concerns the dynamics.
Second one concerns the institutional framework. Europe is at least where different people with different national characteristics, different languages and different religions have lived together for many many years. And its not just a kind of survival. They lived together, they have developed their countries, they have doubled their standard of livings and they have created a kind of osmoses between their culture. And we have now the European Union as one of the unique examples of the human history. So it is the legislative framework the EU acqui that govern the in the best way the right of the individuals, the right of minorities, the right of communities and the rights of everybody. I think that this is very important for the Turkish Cypriots . I can understand the concerns because the wide range of people make clear that there are concerns how the next day will be. Here the answer is the legislative framework of the EU. If we could implement the EU acqui in the island, I believe 90 percent of the problem will could be resolved. So its very important to find a solution to give this kind of information, that what is legislative is about.
Then there is a third important issue that EU do and its something very practical and concrete and its the financing. Three different kinds of financing. The long-term financing which concern after 2007 and it means that EU engaged in solution can support finance infrastructure any kind of infrastructure, schools, boat roads, hospitals, and etc. Keep finance companies this is something very important. \its a very important development. companies can be financed in order to invest. In order to invest in new technology or human resources and this is an incentive in the less develop areas of Europe we must give incentives in order to enter the internal market and be competitive. Of course, there is a very huge amount of money for human resources, education and training, unemployed. This is a big package after 2007 and its under negotiations now, because we agree the new generating of financing is to meant after enlargement.
Cyprus will participate into this financing only if there is a resolution. This is because this kind of financing concerns countries for which the average GDP is less than 75 percent of the European counties and only in case of solution Cyprus will comply with this condition otherwise it is over 80 percent so it can not subject to this kind of financing.
Then there is a very interesting mid-term financing tool and perspective. And this in case of solution Cyprus will receive about 206 million euro again for infrastructure, companies and human resources and it concerns of course the north side of Cyprus where they have bigger problems of developments.
And there is a third which is going to announced in some days. There are three different issues to facilitate trade relationships and to support regional developments and to support civil society to create join projects. And here I would like to announce something which is very new that we are going to support the joint initiative from doctors from Turkish and Greek Cypriots in order to organize conference and some joint initiatives in order to be informed about new realities of health issues within European Union.
Coming back to political problem of the island and recently I was in Brussels and talking to the EU officials I noticed that they are very insisted on a solution based on Annan plan before 1st of May 2004. What would be your comment on this commissioner?
I think it is very important to be very clear on this issue. The European Union has demonstrated in the most clear way that its going to support and to be active and to offer its good offices in the procedures of settling issue under the conditions that the UN has main responsibility and the Annans proposal will be the basis of negotiations. This is very clear and this is framework and this is the basis. And everything which has been told and didnt admitted now is under this preconditions. I think I could add something more. Of course there is many discussions on the Annans text but from the very beginning as far as the EU concerned, all we must know that its only one state negotiate and participate and be part of the EU. There is no possibility to doubt for anything else but just one state. One single voice which will participate EU institutions. Of course the organization of state its your business, its the business of the Turkish and the Greek Cypriots. EU has nothing to do with that. But as far as the basis is concerned but this must be very clear point one state one single voice otherwise there is no possibility for the European Union cooperation.
Are you hopeful commissioner for a solution before 1st of May 2004 and if no solution by that date what happens?
As a politician, I must be optimistic and I believe all of us must be optimistic, because things are quite different then there were in the past. The Cyprus problem was always a problem for the east Mediterranean, it was not just a topical of political issue. It always a problem in the relations between Greece and Turkey. It is a problem for Turkey as far as the EU concerned. Its also an European problem. Everybody wants a solution and now as far as the island concerned it is obvious that people are more mature. And each side is less has less nationalist and populist. And people can see the futures is not in the past. Each side has very bad memories but if we seen the future, we can see that European perspective can make this future a very light one. I believe that Turkey can play very important role and can facilitate the procedures. Turkish Cypriots now are more informed and know better about their interest and about their future. Greek Cypriots a county know very well that a civil state, a country where Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots live together will be a more powerful one and secure place.
As far as date concerned, I believe that when there is a concrete date, it always better because there is a pressure and we know that up to the 2004 we can keep the momentum because all applicant countries will try to catch up with the complete date and to make their commitments and EU with UN will participate in this procedure. After 1st of may other problems will be in the first priority. Because after the next day after enlargement there EU will have new kinds of problems the problems social vocations, problems of new moderns of governance and problems of implementations.
We will not have the momentum that we have now. Its very important for everybody to understand that1st of may is a new and big challenge and we have to face it with a very concrete and effective way.
Commissioner thank you very much.