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Cyprus and the European Union

The bilateral relations between the EU and Cyprus began with the signing of an Association Agreement in December 1972 which was complemented by a Protocol concluded in 1987. This Agreement contains arrangements on trade and customs matters and it constituted the legal framework for current EU-Cyprus relations until the entry into force of the Accession Treaty on 1 May 2004. Cyprus then became a member of the EU. The Agreement was supplemented by four Financial Protocols concerning financial and technical co-operation.

The Republic of Cyprus applied for membership to the EU in July 1990. The European Council of 1993 in Luxembourg invited the Commission to open substantive discussions with the Government of Cyprus to help it to prepare for the accession negotiations.

In 1995, the General Affairs Council reaffirmed the suitability of Cyprus for accession to the European Union and confirmed the Union’s will to incorporate Cyprus in the next stage of its enlargement. The Council considered that accession negotiations should start on the basis of Commission proposals six months after the conclusion of the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference.

The conclusions of the European Council of Luxemburg in 1997 stated that the accession of Cyprus should benefit all communities and help to bring about civil peace and reconciliation. The accession negotiations would contribute positively to the search for a political solution to the Cyprus problem through the talks under the aegis of the United Nations with a view to creating a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation. In this context, the European Council requested that the willingness of the Government of Cyprus to include representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community in the accession negotiating delegation be acted upon.

The European Council of Copenhagen decided that, in the absence of a settlement, the application of the acquis to the northern part of the island would be suspended, until the Council decides unanimously otherwise, on the basis of a proposal by the Commission. Meanwhile, the Council invited the Commission, in consultation with the government of Cyprus, to consider ways of promoting economic development of the northern part of Cyprus and bringing it closer to the Union. The program has been launched in June 2003.

The results of the negotiations on all 31 chapters of the acquis were incorporated into the Accession Treaty. The Commission delivered its opinion on 19 February and submitted the Treaty to the European Parliament which gave its assent on 9 April, it was signed in Athens on 16 April 2003. Cyprus ratified the Treaty in July 2003. Cyprus became a Member State on 1 May 2004.

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