European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki held talks here on Thursday with Cyprus Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Demetris Eliades, during a visit to Cyprus. She praised Cyprus as an "excellent example" of the absorption of European Union funds in a creative and beneficial manner, referring especially to a fishing shelter that she will inaugurate at the village of Zygi on Friday with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.

"That was a typical example where European funds were used in the best possible way," she said.
Her talks with the Cyprus agriculture minister had focused on the preparations for Cyprus' EU presidency during the second half of 2012, Damanaki told reporters.

The Commissioner said that the European Commission would announce her proposals for a major reform of the common fishing policy during the summer. She described the proposed reforms as deep and radical, designed to bring European fisheries in lines with the new state of affairs that now existed in terms of the environment and society.

The Cyprus presidency of 2012 would play an important role in further promoting the reforms, she added.
Damanaki said that they had also agreed on issues concerning small-scale, coastal fishing and pointed out that the European Commission was keen to protect small fishermen, who tended to fish in ways more friendly to the environment and greatly boosted employment.

Concerning the harassment of Cypriot fishing boats by Turkey and its continued refusal to allow Cyprus-flagged vessels to dock at Turkish ports and harbours, Damanaki stressed that the European Commission's position was unchanged.

"The chapter on fishing, along with other chapters [in EU accession negotiations], remains closed and is linked with the demand of the European Commission that Turkey proceed to implement the Protocol and open its ports," she pointed out.

Eliades also stressed Turkey's violations of the rights of the Cyprus Republic under EU treaties and expressed satisfaction that Damanaki had repeated the Commission's position on these issues.