|Cyprus´ European identity and character was clearly recognized in the Opinion (Avis) of the European Commission on the application by the Republic of Cyprus for membership of the European Community, issued in June 1993, which noted inter alia the following:
“ 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 doubt, its European identity and character and confirm its vocation to belong to the Community.”
The Republic of Cyprus first expressed interest in establishing an Association Agreement with the then European Economic Community (EEC) in the early 1960´s – one of the first countries to do so. That Association Agreement was concluded with the EEC on 19 December 1972, and subsequently entered into force on 1 June 1973. Below you can find the landmark dates for the Republic of Cyprus´ European course:
1 June 1973: An Association Agreement of Cyprus with the then European Economic Community comes into force, aimed to establish a Customs Union Agreement between Cyprus and the EEC to be implemented in two stages over a period of ten years. The implementation of the first stage of the agreement was delayed due to the Turkish invasion of 1974 and its impact on the island´s economy.
1 January 1988: The first phase of the Customs Union is completed and a Protocol for the implementation of the second stage of the Customs Union Agreement comes into effect. In accordance with the Provisions of this Protocol, the Customs Union between Cyprus and the EU was to be in two phases, to be completed by 2003 at the latest.
4 July 1990: Cyprus submits its application for full membership of the European Union.
30 June 1993: The European Commission issues a positive Opinion (Avis) on Cyprus´ application for full membership of the EU.
6 March 1995: The EU´s General Affairs Council, with a landmark decision, determined that accession negotiations with Cyprus would start six months after the conclusion of the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference, taking account of its results.
31 March 1998: The EU launches accession negotiations with Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.
December 2002: All chapters of the acquis are closed and Cyprus´ EU harmonization process is completed. The European Council (Copenhagen, 12 –13 December 2002) takes the historic decision for the next EU enlargement, with the accession of ten new member- states including Cyprus.
9 April 2003: The European Parliament votes in favour of Cyprus´ application for membership.
16 April 2003: Cyprus signs the Accession Treaty in Athens. The Protocol on Cyprus which was attached to the Treaty provides for the suspension of the application of the acquis in the occupied part of the island.
1 May 2004: Cyprus, together with nine other countries, formally takes its place alongside the 15 member-states of the European Union.