European Council bids farewell to President Anastasiades at ceremony in Brussels

European Council members bid farewell on Thursday evening to President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, after attending for ten years the Summits. The President will not run again for office at the presidential elections that will take place in February next year. 

The ceremony took place in Brussels on the sidelines of the Council’s working dinner, in the presence of the leaders of the EU member states and the heads of the EU institutions.

According to a press release by the Presidency, during the ceremony, a video was shown as tribute to President Anastasiades for his valuable contribution  to the EU. Addressing the ceremony the President referred particularly to the Cyprus problem asking his colleagues in the Council to work closely with the new President of Cyprus to reach a solution based on the European acquis communautaire and the parameters set by the UN.

Speaking at the ceremony, European Council President Charles Michel praised President Anastasiades’ personality and experience in the EU, as well as the way he always expressed his views for the benefit of Cyprus and its people and for building a common European understanding. He also thanked him for his “impeccable rhetoric and presentation of evidence-based arguments.”

“Thank you for your friendship, for our cooperation” he said, adding that “we have been companions around this table with 5 British Prime Ministers, 4 Belgian Prime Ministers, 7 Italian Prime Ministers, but also 3 Presidents of the Commission”.

Concluding, Michel expressed his “warm and sincere wishes for the best and thank you for the solidarity, thank you for the loyalty.”

President Anastasiades thanked Michel for his words and said that this was the last European Council he attends and therefore it is a day of strong emotions.

He said that being a member of the European Council for ten consecutive years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life and noted that it has certainly not been an easy journey, considering the numerous challenges and many crises but “your commitment and determination to find mutually beneficial solutions to address concerns and meet the interests of each individual Member State has been exemplary.”

The President of  Cyprus expressed sorrow for the fact that his vision for the reunification of Cyprus and its people did not become reality and asked his counterparts to work closely with the next President of Cyprus and use their influence.

“What I ask of you all is not to lose sight on the Cyprus problem. A problem, which is essentially European, since a member state of the European Union remains divided. As a member state of the European Union, Cyprus receives daily threats and suffers from violations against its sovereignty and the unhindered implementation of its sovereign rights,” he underlined.

The President urged the members of the European Council to work closely with the new President of Cyprus to reach a solution based on the European acquis communautaire and the parameters set by the United Nations, while at the same time exerting their influence on Turkey to participate constructively in the Cyprus negotiations and refrain from any provocative and illegal actions against Cyprus.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively


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