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Briefing No 1
Cyprus and the Enlargement of the European Union

The views expressed in this document are not necessarily those held by the European Parliament as an institution.




a) Recent history
b) Institutions
c) Current issues
d) Progress of peace talks


a) Current state of the Cypriot economy up to 1998
b) Economic policies and recent developments
c) Results for 1999 /Forecasts for 2000/2001


a) Association agreement, Financial protocols and institutional framework
b) Cyprus' application for membership
c) Pre-accession strategy and Cyprus' progress towards accession

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Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, had at the end of 1998 a population of approximately 752,000 inhabitants, made up of the Greek Cypriot community (640,000 inhabitants), the Turkish Cypriot community (88,000 inhabitants) and 24,000 others. Cyprus has been linked to the European Union since 1972 by an association agreement, and on 4 July 1990 it applied for membership of the Union.

Cyprus, which amply fulfils the political and economic membership criteria, has a special political situation: part of its territory is illegally occupied by a third country, Turkey, and has unilaterally declared itself to be an independent republic. It enjoys no international recognition - the peace process is at a standstill.

The opening of negotiations could act as a stimulus to a settlement of the problem. This is the view of the European Union institutions, which encourage a peaceful solution, as well as participation by the northern part of the island in the accession process, which should benefit the whole island.

The official accession process has been underway since 31 March 1998. Screening of various chapters - 31 in total - of the acquis communautaire has been going on since April with Cyprus and the other first-wave applicant countries. It has been possible to arrive at joint negotiating positions in a number of sectors.

In November 1998, the Commission submitted its report on the progress made by Cyprus towards accession to the European Council; in general Cyprus has progressed well with adoption of the acquis, especially in the Customs Union. Progress has still to be made with strengthening administrative capacities in a number of sectors.

The Commission points out that because of the refusal of the Turkish Cypriot community to send representatives to the negotiations the analysis of the acquis could not cover the whole island.

With a view to the Helsinki European Council, the Commission submitted a new report on Cyprus' progress towards accession on 13 October 1999. The next regular report of the Commission is expected on 8 November 2000.

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© Enlargement: 2000-08-08