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CYPRUS AND THE EUROPEAN UNION


CYPRUS AND ITS PRESIDENCY OF THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION


As Cyprus takes centre stage in the European Union, its Parliament takes on an expanded parliamentary diplomacy role to help achieve the political goals not just of Cyprus but of the entire EU and beyond, writes the President of the House of Representatives.


H.E. Mr Yiannakis L. Omirou, MP, in Nicosia. Mr Omirou is the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus. A lawyer, he was first elected to the House for the Socialist Party EDEK in 1981, leaving the House in 1998 on his appointment as Minister of Defence, resigning from that post in 1999. He was elected again to the House in 2001 and has been a Member continuously since then, being elected as President of the House in June 2011.


For thousands of years, the island of Cyprus has rested in the Mediterranean Sea at the crossroads of three continents of the world, connecting Europe, Africa and Asia. Nature has placed Cyprus at a significant strategic location enabling it, throughout history, to be a bridge between the nations and the peoples of the western and eastern worlds. Because of its location, Cyprus has been contested and conquered by many powers. Due to its prominent location, Cyprus has shared its history with the European continent, as well as with the history of the wider Middle East. In modern times, Cyprus


officially became a full member of the European Union (EU) in 2004. Today, Cyprus is at the helm of the European Union, having assumed the Presidency of the Council of the EU, for the second half of 2012. The assumption of the rotating presidency


170 | The Parliamentarian | 2012: Issue Three


and aim for an EU which will be more relevant to its citizens, based on solidarity, social cohesion and a better quality of life for them despite the disheartening financial crisis. Moreover, Europe in the world should come closer to its regional partners and other neighbours and the Cyprus presidency aspires to provide such an opportunity.


H.E. Mr Yiannakis L. Omirou, MP


poses a particular challenge for the country in showing that it is an equally competent member of the EU family. The Cyprus presidency attempts to contribute constructively to the process of European integration and cohesion, whilst actively promoting policies which will: improve EU effectiveness and contribute towards a “Better Europe” through sustainable growth and job creation


The Cyprus presidency This challenge will enable our small country to show its significant capacity as an EU member-state and also display our capabilities to contribute actively in the European integration process on behalf of the Council of the European Union. There are “inherited” topics in the agenda for the six-month term of the Cyprus presidency, as well as some that were put forward by the European Commission and other institutions of the Union. The central


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