Potential Outcomes of the Cyprus-EU Accession Process: Analyzing Scenarios for the Future Political Setup in Cyprus
in Ismail Bozkurt, ed., Proceedings of the Third International Congress on Cyprus Studies (Gazimagusa, North Cyprus: Eastern Mediterranean University, 2000), pp 51-69
This paper analyses the various scenarios for the future political setup in Cyprus in the light of possible outcomes of EU's accession process with the island. It aims to suggest a workable way out of the current impasse over Cyprus. By granting EU candidacy status to Turkey and de-linking the question of Cyprus accession to EU from the island's political settlement, the December 1999 European Council Summit at Helsinki has added new dimensions to the Cyprus issue. Consequently, the EU membership of Cyprus and Turkey, and political resolution of the Cyprus dispute are no longer separable matters. Therefore, the viability of any future political structure in Cyprus now significantly rests upon how the EU's accession process with the island evolves and what direction it takes. There could be six possible scenarios for the future political setup in Cyprus in relation to its membership in the EU: continuity of the stalemate, only the Greek side joins the EU; Greek Cypriots and Turkey join the EU, while Northern Cyprus is left out; Northern and Southern Cyprus join the EU separately; Cyprus joins the EU as a federation, as the EU itself desires; or, the island enters the EU as a confederation, as the Turkish Cypriots want. Unlike the last two scenarios, the first four presuppose entry of Cyprus in the EU as a divided island, and, therefore, have major drawbacks for the parties concerned. The last two scenarios, although being perceived respectively by each side to have drawbacks, have the capacity to materialize if sufficient reassurances are built into the solution. We believe that stalemate over Cyprus can end with the establishment of a confederation that not only fits well into the EU structure, but also provides for credible incentives for both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, as well as Turkey and Greece, to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. We also believe that a confederal experience in Cyprus, founded on effective safeguards for the two sides, as well as the island's membership in the EU as a single entity, will help create the spirit of trust and cooperation required to create a long-lasting federal political structure in Cyprus. Full Text