|Benefits of Accession to
the European Union
Questions Relating to
the Turkish Cypriots.
- What are the benefits
to the Turkish Cypriots from full membership of the EU?
- How will the Turkish
Cypriot benefit from being an EU citizen?
- How much of the
financial assistance from the European Union will be used for the benefit of the Turkish
- Will the Turkish
Cypriots be able to maintain and develop their own cultural identity?
- In simple language
what would be the benefits to the ordinary Turkish Cypriots?
- The Turkish Cypriot
business community has often expressed reservations about measures aiming at normalization
and entry to the EU. What are the benefits of full membership for the Turkish Cypriot
- Even though most of
the Turkish Cypriot community will benefit from membership of the EU, how will the
industries that will face hardship be assisted to harmonize their activities with the
conditions inside the EU?
1. What are the benefits to the
Turkish Cypriots from full membership of the EU?
The Turkish Cypriots will benefit tremendously from
full membership of the EU and the solution of the Cyprus problem, both of which will bring
about a sudden and permanent improvement in income and living standards, and will give the
Turkish Cypriots all the benefits that citizens of Europe enjoy today. Salaries will
increase, young people will stop emigrating, unemployment will be greatly reduced,
profitability increased, social conditions will be brought up to European levels, human
rights respected, and a more liberal and acceptable form of democracy exercised. The
Turkish Cypriots would benefit far more than any other section of the population of Cyprus
because the economic and social circumstances of the community have fallen behind the rest
of Cyprus since 1974 and as a result they would quickly gain both from the normalization
process and the amount of development assistance that they will receive.
In its «Regular Report on Cyprus’ Progress Towards
Accession» (October 1998), the European Commission has included the following general
«The integration of the northern part of Cyprus,
especially if taking place in the context of Cyprus accession to the EU, will not raise
major economic difficulties, because of its relatively small size and its potential, in
particular, in terms of agriculture and tourism. However, it will be important to bring
the basic infrastructure up to the standard of the southern part of the island.»
2. How will the Turkish Cypriot
benefit from being an EU citizen?
Turkish Cypriots will have the same rights in this
respect as any other citizen of Europe, whether German, French, British or Greek Cypriot.
This means that Turkish Cypriots will have EU passports just like citizens of other EU
countries. These rights are provided by the European Union Treaty which states that every
person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union and shall
have the right to move freely within the EU, be entitled to protection by any embassy of a
Union member in a third country, may petition the European Parliament and the EU
Ombudsman, and have freedom of employment and establishment within the Union. Furthermore,
any citizen of the Union residing in a Member State of which he is not a national has the
right, in that state, to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections and in
elections to the European Parliament.
3. How much of the financial
assistance from the European Union will be used for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots
Upon accession, Cyprus will be eligible for financial
assistance from the structural funds, (European Regional Development Fund, European Social
Fund, European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, Financial Instrument for
Fisheries Guidance) the European Investment Bank facilities and loans and the Cohesion
Fund. The precise amounts of assistance will depend on the «objective» of the EU’s
regional policy for which Cyprus will be deemed eligible. As a rule such assistance is
always meant to supplement national policies aimed at balanced and sustainable
development. Irrespective of the actual level of co-financing assistance from the EU, the
aim is to promote economic and social cohesion throughout Cyprus with all means and within
the shortest possible time frame.
For the present and foreseeable future, the comparatively
greater needs of the Turkish Cypriot Community will attract special attention in overall
national development policy, thus a correspondingly substantial amount of co-financing
assistance from the EU will be devoted for direct and indirect benefits to the Turkish
4. Will the Turkish Cypriots be
able to maintain and develop their own cultural identity?
The EU is very concerned about the rights of all groups
and of individuals as well as the position of the EU Maastricht Treaty. Over and above
this formal support, the trend in the EU is for communities and nationalities that are not
numerically large to reassert their cultural rights, and a great deal of support is
provided to such groups, especially where they are in distinct regions.
5. In simple language what would
be the benefits to the ordinary Turkish Cypriots?
The main advantages of full EU membership for the
ordinary Turkish Cypriot are as follows:
- European citizenship, giving the freedom to travel anywhere
with the protection of EU foreign services and the freedom to establish and set up
business or be employed in any EU Member State.
- Improved security for life, family, property and human and
- A sharp increase in wages by more than three times the
present levels. For many this increase will be immediate on the establishment of a single
market for goods, labour and capital, for others wages will rise rapidly and approach
those of the Government-controlled area within a relatively short period (perhaps 2 to 5
- Real living standards will increase sharply as a result of
the increase in incomes and relatively moderate price changes.
- An increase in both the quality and quantity of job
opportunities available in Cyprus, as well as freedom to travel throughout the EU for
- The right of children and young people to study in EU member
states free or under the same terms as other European Citizens, and subsequently to have
the right to offer services or undertake employment.
- Improvements in roads, infrastructure and services, many of
which will be funded by the EU.
- Improvements in standards for foodstuffs, other products,
safety at work and the environment.
- The reduction in emigration of Turkish Cypriots owing to the
rapid improvement in living standards in Cyprus.
- The recourse to EU Courts in cases where discrimination or
other violation of EU laws is assumed.
6. The Turkish Cypriot business
community has often expressed reservations about measures aiming at normalization and
entry to the EU. What are the benefits of full membership for the Turkish Cypriot
Membership of the EU and the normalization process will
benefit the great majority of Turkish Cypriot businesses, but certainly some firms
unavoidably will face adjustment problems. Problems will mainly arise where there are
monopolistic markets or where industries have been protected by high tariffs or quotas
prohibiting imports. In contrast the agricultural and tourist sectors will benefit
enormously, the former from better prices and greater assistance, the latter from better
access to the huge EU market. Manufacturing should benefit from having, at least
initially, the lowest wage costs in the EU, and access to an enlarged local market.
Shopkeepers and importers should benefit considerably from the growth in the tourist
market and the greater spending power of Turkish Cypriot workers who will benefit from the
rapid increase in incomes.
7. Even though most of the
Turkish Cypriot community will benefit from membership of the EU, how will the industries
that will face hardship be assisted to harmonize their activities with the conditions
inside the EU?
The EU is already providing assistance through the
financial protocols provided under the Association Agreement to facilitate the
harmonization process. A substantial part of this assistance is earmarked to help the
Turkish Cypriot community, and especially the business sector. In general the Customs
Union process, which began in 1988, has allowed many industries to gradually adapt to the
single market conditions of the EU. Consequently the present proposals from within the
Turkish Cypriot community for the gradual reduction of tariffs with the EU should be
welcomed as being in the right direction. The earlier the adjustment process begins, the
easier the harmonization process. Furthermore, after accession, Cyprus will obtain access
to the EU structural funds which, within the framework of the European Union’s regional
policy provide very substantial financial aid for the purpose of industrial restructuring