The Unbearable Lightness of Schulz Cyprus Journey

It is a truism to say there is a price to everything in the world we live in. As more and more ‘atmospheric’ noise is made by international actors (UN, EU) about the imminence of a Cyprus settlement, it is vital that we shed at least some light on the real cost of the settlement and pose the fundamental question of who will be asked to pay the bill. Such an exercise of estimating the multiple costs involved in the implementation of the three-state settlement - one Greek constituent state, one Turkish plus the international persona grata i.e. the (con) federal government that will link both - should be no doubt profound. It should go beyond the platitudes of ‘the settlement will bring prosperity’ type and ask the real question of who is going to finance such a solution; otherwise the exercise in which we are engaging is one of fooling ourselves.

As these lines are drawn, Martin Schulz, the Speaker of the European Parliament, sets foot on the island invited by Yiannakis Omirou, Cyprus’ House of Representatives Speaker, whose party EDEK, strongly opposes the Bizonal Bi-communal Federation as the negotiated form of political settlement. Certain interesting observations are in place in this regard: Martin Schulz has been the leader of the Socialist Group in the EP since 2004, the pivotal year that saw the overwhelming rejection of the UN plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. Seventy six per cent of the Greek majority population turned down the proposed plan which would have turned Cyprus, yet again, de jure, a vassal state, subordinate to Ankara’s whims.

Schulz has not done well his homework before accepting the invitation to visit the island republic. According to press reports, the EP Speaker will devote more time meeting Mustafa Akinci, ‘President’ of the illegal ‘TRNC’ regime than for his meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades, Head of the internationally recognized government, and fellow member state of the EU! This fact speaks volumes as to Schulz’s intentions.

Second, Martin Schulz fails to take into account the robust views on the Cyprus problem of his fraternal EDEK socialist party. In a recent meeting with Marinos Sizopoulos, EDEK party chairman, the latter complained to the author that relations with the European Socialists, chaired by Schulz, are strained because of EDEK’s Cyprus policy questioning the wisdom of implementing a BBF solution. Twelve years of frozen relations between the European socialists and their Cypriot counterparts should have been long enough a period of time for Martin Schulz, if he considers himself a statesman, to show leadership by seeking to engage with his Cypriot socialist colleagues listening to their legitimate concerns rather than shunning them off.

Instead, Europe’s Socialist leader places more emphasis on listening to Akinci, who aligns himself with Ankara’s fresh threats against the Republic of Cyprus, in response to the latter’s third licensing round for exploration in its legitimate Exclusive Economic Zone. (Akinci already started making complaints about the licensing whereas Cypriot government spokesman Christodoulides cleared the ground stating that the energy policy of the RoC is not under negotiation).

In failing to fairly put his ears on the Turkish-pillaged Cypriot ground, Herr Schulz unwisely made noises about an all-time ‘golden opportunity for a settlement’ before even setting foot on the violently-yet-forgotten raped island. He should have been better advised to fill his forerunner public statement with a call for Ankara to pull out all its troops from the island and restitute the tens of thousands of Greek properties which she has confiscated through its puppet regime.

If Martin Schulz insists on condoning Turkey’s attempt to get away with the huge compensation bill, he should tell us where the money will come from to settle the forty two year old bleeding Cyprus wounds.