Cyprus fully supports the EU strategic agenda for the next five years, Nikos Christodoulides said on Thursday, while noting that Nicosia will work with its partners and the EU institutions for a more resilient and integrated Union.
He also said that the newly created Secretariat for EU Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, chaired by Ambassador Kornelios Korneliou in a bid to strengthen the effectiveness of processes on EU matters, will be catalytic in this regard.
Addressing a reception in Nicosia, hosted by the Foreign Ministry and PIO, the Minister referred to the four priorities of the 2019-2024 agenda for the EU, that was agreed by the European Council last week. Priorities focus on protecting citizens and freedoms, developing a strong and vibrant economic base, building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe and promoting European interests and values on the global stage.
“As a new political cycle for the EU begins, the strategic agenda sets the direction for the Union and defines its political priorities for the next five years,” Christodoulides said.
He added that the new agenda reflects the changes that Europe has undergone in recent years and also highlights the increasing need to protect Europe’s territory and external borders and strengthen European unity and resolve on the international stage.
Analyzing the four priorities, the Minister noted that Europe must be a place where people feel free and safe, while its strong economic base remains of key importance for Europe’s competitiveness, prosperity, its role on the global stage and for the creation of jobs.
He also referred to climate change, saying that as its effects become more visible, we urgently need to step up our action to address this existential threat. He said finally that the EU must remain the driving force behind multilateralism and the rule-based international order.
In a world of increasing uncertainty, the EU needs to increase its capacity to act autonomously, to safeguard its interests, uphold its values and its way of life and to help shape the global future, Christodoulides concluded.
The reception was hosted by the Director of the Press and Information Office, Sophie Michaelides and the Secretary-General for EU Affairs Kornelios Korneliou. In her address, Michaelides said that the EU faces all kinds of challenges in a world that has become increasingly complex and subject to rapid change.
She added that a decisive factor for the successful implementation of the EU’s strategic priorities is how European citizens are engaged in the process and said that adequate planning, transparency and an integrated approach with a clear definition of roles and objectives are the tools to interact successfully with citizens.
Among others, the PIO Director referred to the initiative of Nicos Anastasiades on Climate Change and said that the issue is indeed one of the two major issues of concern, hand in hand with the ongoing migration crisis. “The way we talk about both, the language we use and how we frame the discussion, not only creates or destroys the solidarity between member states” but also affects the way people think and act, she said.
From his part, Ambassador Korneliou said that he was honored to be appointed as the Foreign Ministry’s first Secretary-General for EU Affairs. We can do more than what we did in the past 15 years, this is why the Council of Ministers decided to create this Secretariat, he added and pledged to cooperate with all involved.
The reception was also attended by EU Ambassadors and representatives of European diplomatic missions in Cyprus, PIO staff and members of the Press.