46 - Relations with Turkey on the Cyprus Question
|Scorecard 2012: D+ ||(5/20)
The EU is superficially united due to the requirements of Community law and solidarity with Cyprus, but its policy is not effective as it cannot act as an honest broker and has lost leverage with Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.
The EU’s objectives are to get Turkey to implement the 2004 Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement and allow Greek Cypriot ships and aircraft to use its ports and airports, and to assist the ongoing reunification negotiations under the auspices of the UN Secretary General. The latter is inherently difficult as Cyprus is now a member state, so the EU has, one way or another, evolved from an external mediator to a party in the conflict. For instance, Cyprus currently blocks negotiation chapters in Turkey’s accession talks as well as EU-NATO cooperation to put pressure on Ankara on this issue.
This does not mean that a common EU position is utterly impossible. The principle of pacta sunt servanda, the EU’s free-movement law and political solidarity with Cyprus all feed into a common position. The tricky issue is whether Turkey should be given additional incentives, but the EU has limited capacity to push for a settlement. While reunification negotiations have continued, the EU will have little leverage with Turkey as long as the blockage of the accession process continues (44
Turkey has no face-saving options either, as long as regulation for trade with the Northern Cyprus is blocked
in the European Parliament and Council. Reintroduced by the European Commission under the new rules of the Lisbon Treaty, the regulation was defeated thanks to opposition by Cypriot MEPs. This outcome perpetuates the deadlock and deepens divisions between EU institutions and member states over this long-standing conflict.
The election of nationalist Derviș Eroğlu in Northern Cyprus puts the prospect of a settlement involving a joint state in question. With hardliners in power in the north, negotiated partition is increasingly becoming the sole realistic option. The EU faces a growing challenge but has little by way of a response to the situation at hand.