Greece and Cyprus discuss EU presidency issues

Issues that the Cypriot presidency of the EU will handle in the second half of 2012, such as the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), were discussed during a meeting in Nicosia on Tuesday between Cypriot Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment Demetris Eliades and visiting Greek Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Kostas Skandalidis, along with their delegations.
Skandalidis said the process to reform CAP would take ''a few months, with tough negotiations, and we hope that the Cypriot presidency will be so successful that the summit which will decide the final points for CAP for the period 2014-2020 will be especially favorable for the interests of Cyprus and Greece.''

The Greek minister assured Eliades that Cyprus would have the full support of Greece, which has organised ''very successful presidencies since 1989.''

Asked if they discussed problems arising from the transpor-tation of mainly agricultural products from the northern Turkish occupied areas to the southern government controlled areas of Cyprus and from there to the rest of the EU, and the issue of direct trade between the EU and the occupied areas, Eliades said they had not, noting that they did discuss the harsh competition European producers face due to the import of goods from third countries, which are cheaper.

''This is an issue we raised during our talks and we share a common line in efforts to support European producers,'' he said.

Skandalidis noted that they also share identical views in other chapters and ''together and separately we can create the preconditions and alliances to promote the broader interests of the EU, as well as the interests of the peoples of the European south.''

During their talks, Eliades and Skandalides signed a Cooperation Programme, and assured that their relations would be strengthened and further developed to mutual benefit.

Eliades said that in the issue of the Cypriot presidency of the EU, ''Greece's support is the most decisive factor, which will help Cyprus carry out a responsible, creative and reliable presidency.''

''We are a small country. We do not have large numbers of experts and technocrats but with seriousness, responsibility and prudence I believe we can exercise a presidency that will be positive and creative for the EU and our countries,'' he said.

Referring to the Cooperation Programme, Skandalidis said that it was the twelfth to be signed since 1992 and noted its importance since it will coincide with Cyprus' EU presidency and the reform of CAP.

Cyprus, which joined the EU in May 2004, will assume the six-monthly rotating EU presidency for the first time in the second half of 2012.

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