BRIEF HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
“…Cyprus’ geographical position, the deep-lying bonds which, for two thousand years, have located the island at the very fount of European culture and civilization, the intensity of the European influence apparent in the values shared by the people of Cyprus and in the conduct of the cultural, political, economic and social life of its citizens, the wealth of its contacts of every kind with the Community, all these confer on Cyprus, beyond all doubt, its European identity and character and confirm its vocation to belong to the Community». 1993 Opinion of the European Commission on the application of Cyprus for membership to the EU
On 4 July 1990, the Republic of Cyprus submitted an application for membership to the then EEC. After an extensive examination of the application, the European Commission issued its Opinion (Avis) on Cyprus΄ application on 30 June 1993, which recognized the island’s European identity and character, as well as its vocation to belong to the EEC. The Commission’s Opinion also confirmed that Cyprus satisfies the criteria for membership and is suitable to become a member of the EEC.
The European Council fully endorsed this Opinion on 4 October 1993, stating, inter alia, that “The Council supported the Commission’s approach which was to propose, without awaiting a peaceful, balanced and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem, to use all the instruments offered by the Association Agreement to help, in close cooperation with the Cypriot Government, with the economic, social and political transition of Cyprus towards integration into the European Union.”
The substantive discussions that the Commission initiated with Cyprus within the framework of the Opinion began in 1993 and were completed in 1995. The Cyprus Government set up 23 working groups, each of them responsible for familiarizing itself with a different chapter of the acquis communautaire with which Cyprus needed to harmonize its legislation and adapt it with that of the European Union.
The long and arduous process of the Accession Negotiations was completed by the Copenhagen European Council (December 2002), where the historic decision was taken to admit Cyprus and the other nine candidate countries as full members of the Union, as of May 2004.
On 16 April 2003, President Tassos Papadopoulos, signed the Treaty of Accession of Cyprus to the European Union. The signing of this historic Treaty, which took place during a special ceremony in Athens, represents the cornerstone of Cyprus΄ path towards accession to the European Union and is a landmark event in the modern history of Cyprus. At the same time it constitutes the crowning achievement of the long effort by Cyprus to formally join the European family, to which it has always belonged geographically, historically, culturally, economically and politically.
Cyprus ratified the Accession Treaty on 14 July 2003 and until its accession, participated in the work and the institutions of the European Union as an active observer. On 1 May 2004, Cyprus became a full EU Member State, along with the other nine acceding countries – The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
For more information on the Cyprus' membership in the EU, you can consult the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In the second hald of 2012, Cyprus will be the Presidency of the Council of the EU. For more information on the Cypriot Preisdency's goals and objectives, please visit the special website created by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus "Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU 2012".