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Benefits of Accession to the European Union

Questions Relating to the Whole of Cyprus.

  1. What are the benefits to Cyprus as a whole from membership of the European Union?
  2. What are the specific political benefits from entry to the EU?
  3. What are the economic advantages of membership?
  4. What other benefits are anticipated form EU membership?
  5. Will there be political gains from EU membership?

 

1. What are the benefits to Cyprus as a whole from membership of the European Union?

The benefits to Cyprus as a whole from membership of the EU will be quite substantial, with the whole population of the island benefitting from political, economic, social, environmental and other advantages. Though it must be remembered that membership of the European Union also requires obligations and commitments and a period of adjustment that will certainly cause some problems, overall, however, there is little doubt that the advantages of membership far exceed the disadvantages. This is especially the case for a small country such as Cyprus which is in any case highly dependent on the EU, and greatly affected by its decisions. One has only to note that 50% of the exports of the Government-controlled part of Cyprus and 64% of Turkish Cypriot exports are to the EU, to realize how important the EU is for the island.

 

2. What are the specific political benefits from entry to the EU?

The political advantages from entry to the EU are extremely important for both the two main communities of the island and for the State itself. The main benefits being:

  1. Improvement of relations between the Greek and Turkish communities of Cyprus by following the example of, and participating in the mechanisms developed by, the European Union. We have to remember that the European Economic Community, from which the European Union was derived, was born out of the bitter experience of World War II and the realization that the recurrence of terrible wars could be stopped only by the nationalities and the states of Europe coming closer together and developing common interests. Cyprus will benefit from the experience gained in Europe in building bridges between peoples and communities, as well as from participation in the European integration mechanisms.
  2. Improved security for all the population of Cyprus, which will derive from membership of a community of nations and sovereign states that stresses its attachment to the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule on law. These principles are confirmed by the European Union Treaty. Since these are fundamental to the EU, the violation of these rights of a Member State, or within a member state, would be unacceptable. The Union of 15 states has the economic, political and eventually military power to both act as a deterrent to such violations and to force corrective action where violations occur.
  3. The commitment to refer to the European Treaties and the body of the EU law in dealing with problems, thereby, having a reference point for the resolution of disputes and problems that goes beyond the narrow interests of political groups, communities and pressure groups. This does not mean that European Law will determine everything, but rather that basic principles which form the foundation of the EU philosophy, such as the principle of non-discrimination, should be upheld.
  4. The ability to participate as a voting member in the decision-making processes of the EU, so as to be able to influence decisions that affect Cyprus and the whole of Europe.
  5. The provision of EU citizenship to the citizens of Cyprus.

 

3. What are the economic advantages of membership?

  1. Access of Cypriot goods and services to a huge single market consisting at present of the 15 most economically advanced countries in Europe, with a population of over 370 million, a gross national product of $7,269,116 m, and imports of $1,644,806 mln. (1992 data source IBRD Atlas). this is expected to lead to an increase of Cypriot exports to EU Member States.
  2. Participation of Cyprus in the Unionís internal market, an area where free movement of goods, services, persons and goods is ensured, will lead in the medium and long term to a more efficient allocation of factors of production towards activities in which Cyprus possesses comparative advantages. This will have positive repercussions on growth and employment.
  3. Share in the growth and development of the EU economy.
  4. Attraction of investment from the EU in activities in which Cyprus possesses comparative advantages, thus accelerating the transformation of Cyprus into a regional business centre.
  5. Adoption of the Euro and participation of Cyprus in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), an area where conditions of macro-economic stability prevail, is expected to lead to lower inflation and lower interest rates, thus resulting in stronger confidence of the economic actors, increased investment and higher growth rate. Furthermore, participation in the EMU should boost Cypriot exports, considering the reduction of transaction costs which will result from the abolition of both the exchange risk and the cost of converting the local currency to Euro in transactions with other members of the EMU.
  6. Widening of the choices of the consumer as far as goods and services are concerned.
  7. Increased financial assistance from the EU to Cyprus. Most EU funding will be provided for agriculture and through structural funds.

 

4. What other benefits are anticipated form EU membership?

A whole range of advantages are expected, covering most areas of business and life in general. The laws and standards will in most cases be upgraded and modernized. Social programs will be brought into line with the high standards of the Social Charter, while there will also be a greater emphasis on improvement in the environment, safety standards and quality improvement. Overall, a significant improvement in the quality of life is anticipated, especially in the less developed parts of the island which will be eligible for massive EU assistance.

 

5. Will there be political gains from EU membership?

The importance of Cyprus in the world will be increased and the country will be able to influence EU policy and to cooperate with its EU partners in the implementation of policy.

 

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