GCC Press Review | 20 Feb 2019 |

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Halloumi is one thing, the Cyprus problem another

The government seeks ways to disentangle halloumi from the political problem. Changes in the file will be sought after the registration of the product by Brussels. Cabinet appoints today an official to investigate the loss of the trademark.

  • Ktima Mackenzie is not being demolished

Phileleftheros

Halloumi is blocked

Letter by the President to Juncker who keeps the halloumi file in the drawer due to its connection with the Cyprus problem. Other cheese cases are being examined within 10 months, ours has been pending for 3.5 years after the ‘joint understanding’ with Akinci of July 2015.

  • Akinci is preparing a road map – He briefed the pseudo-parliament.
  • Report on Turkey, a carrot and stick approach – The 2018 Commission Report on Turkey, which can be read in two ways with regards to its Cyprus-related issues, is set to be voted on by the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.
  • Fine to TC taxi driver for transport of passengers – A Court imposed a €250 fine on a TC taxi driver for transporting three people from Larnaca airport to the occupied areas without a permit. This is the first conviction of a TC taxi driver for illegal employment.

Haravgi

Explosive atmosphere among doctors

The atmosphere around the GESY (National Health Scheme) is explosive in relation with a number of issues emerging at the same time, that raise concerns about the smooth implementation of one the major social reforms. The Social Alliance informs society about the need to implement the GESY while registration rates of doctors are considered satisfactory.

  • They bring disastrous ideas to the table – “AKEL will not accept a two-state solution or a confederation and those who have such ideas at the back of their minds, should abandon them,” Andros Kyprianou stressed after his meeting with a delegation of OPEK (Association for Social Reform).
  • The President does not know the population of Kyrenia – Strong reaction from the municipality of the occupied town.
  • The government’s handling of halloumi is a mess – They are looking for a scapegoat after losing the halloumi trademark. New investigation official (to be appointed). The file has been sitting in a drawer for 3.5 years. The EU trademark is also at peril.  

Cyprus Mail

‘Vested interests behind GESY stand’ 

Doctor resigning from medical association says leadership under control of private medics group.

Alithia

Concern over €3 billion! 

The government is on tenterhooks over court decision. Extreme anticipation. The court ruling declaring the pension and retirement one-off bonus cuts of civil servants as unconstitutional is a harbinger for the justification of the same employees also on the issue of their pay cuts due to the economic crisis.

Main News

Halloumi held hostage to the Cyprus talks

Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters, Negotiations Process, Economy

OVERVIEW

The government is trying to have the designation of halloumi as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product untangled from the Cyprus problem, after the country’s application to the European Commission received the green light on a technocratic level, but was blocked for political reasons.

Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis told the House agriculture committee on Tuesday that efforts to designate halloumi as a PDO product were linked in an unprecedented manner to the Cyprus problem and the Green Line Regulation of 2004. Kadis told MPs that there are no provisions in EU regulations for such a move.

Phileleftheros, citing exclusive information, reported that President Nicos Anastasiades has sent a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker asking for the registration of halloumi as PDO to carry on.

While in other cases the time for examining applications for PDOs varies between four to 10 months, Kadis said, in the case of Cyprus, it’s been 3.5 years.

Meanwhile, the government is giving another battle on the same front, to prevent the loss of the European trademark for halloumi after Cyprus lost the trademark for the traditional cheese product in the UK. The appeal on behalf of the Cypriot authorities was rejected by the British court as there were no new legal grounds.

The legal service told the House agriculture committee there are currently three requests for the revocation of the European trademark on halloumi in the UK, and that all necessary measures are being taken to prevent the revocation, as the European trademark serves to guarantee the cheese as a traditional product of Cyprus within the EU and the UK.

Commerce Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis, who was at the same Committee meeting, told MPs that he was to submit to Cabinet on Wednesday a request by the attorney-general Costas Clerides for the addition of one more member to the investigating team for the disciplinary probe launched by his ministry to determine whether officials were derelict in their duties. The investigation concerns the government’s failure to mount a challenge and dispatch the necessary paperwork within the set deadline after British-based company, John & Pascalis Ltd, filed three separate applications on December 22, 2017 to invalidate or revoke the trademark in the UK.


TC side prepares a road map on next moves

Alithia, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci seems to have prepared a road map on the management of the Cyprus problem.

According to Phileleftheros, Akinci’s statements after a five-hour closed-door meeting in ‘parliament’ where he briefed ‘deputies’ on the Cyprus problem, point out to the preparation by the TC side of a road map on their next moves. The plans will take into consideration next week’s leaders’ meeting and the result of UN envoy Jane Holl Lute’s efforts.

Akinci said that he was not yet in a position to know the outcome of Lute’s contacts.

He added that he is willing to discuss Anastasiades’ proposal on a decentralised federation and other ideas but that peace will come through negotiations under the auspices of the UN.

‘House President’ Teberruken Ulucay, said that political equality of the TCs was a must.

Alithia reported that Akinci said that he rejects nothing but that a specific settlement framework exists.

KEY ACTORS
Akinci
>> Open to ideas but peace can only come through negotiations under UN auspices.

Ulucay
>> No TC politician or party will accept an open-ended procedure.


Latest Turkey EU accession report does not sit well with Nicosia

Phileleftheros
EU Matters, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

The 2018 Commission Report on Turkey that proposes the formal suspension of accessions talks includes suggestions that do not sit well with Nicosia, Phileleftheros reports.

According to the report which the daily was able to obtain, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, MEP Kati Piri, used a carrot and stick approach, since she proposes the upgrading of the Customs Union, depending on Turkey’s progress in the areas of fundamental rights and the rule of law. According to the daily, despite efforts by Cypriot MEPs and the foreign ministry, Piri refused to interconnect the upgrading of the Customs Union with the implementation of the existing Customs Union on behalf of Turkey, in its basic form, that would require the latter opening its ports to vessels registered in Cyprus.

Another proposal Nicosia does not agree with is continuation of the work of the ad hoc bicommunal committee to familiarise TCs with the EU acquis, despite the absence of a direct negotiation process. This is contested by Nicosia, since the TC community is not a candidate country, and, therefore, harmonisation with European legislation, is justified only in the context of talks for the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

The report also calls on Turkey to consult with Greece and Cyprus on the issue of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, which is a positive point, Phileleftheros said.

Piri made a ‘lukewarm’ call on Turkey to respect the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus on its exclusive economic zone. The report was to be put to vote at an EP Committee on Foreign Affairs meeting on Wednesday.


‘Straying from the agreed framework could be disastrous’  

Haravgi
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou reiterated that his party will not agree to a two-state solution or a confederation, urging President Nicos Anastasiades to convince the UN of his readiness for the resumption of talks.

Speaking after a meeting with a delegation of the Association for Social Reform (OPEK) at AKEL’s offices on Tuesday, Kyprianou also said that Anastasiades must address the Cypriot people and cultivate the notion that the resumption of talks for a solution based on the agreed framework was imperative.

A prolonged gridlock, he said, cultivates disappointment among Cypriots that there will never be a solution to the Cyprus problem. It also leaves ground for the discussion of dangerous and disastrous ideas such as a two-state solution or a confederation.

He also expressed concerns over recent references made by Anastasiades over other options.

OPEK chairman Pavlos Pavlou said that the group shares the same concerns as Kyprianou. If Cyprus loses international backing, and if the GC society is alienated from a bizonal bicommunal federal solution, the future might hold unpredictable consequences, he said.

KEY ACTORS
Kyprianou
>> There is no other option other than a bizonal bicommunal federation.


Anastasiades under fire over wrong population number of Kyrenia statements

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Territory, Migration & Citizenship

OVERVIEW

Kyrenia municipality said it was an outrage that President Nicos Anastasiades did not know how many residents the district had in 1974.

In response to references by Anastasiades in an interview with Politis published last Sunday, that the Kyrenia district had in 1974, 12,000 inhabitants, the municipality said in a written statement that it was an outrage the president had no idea exactly how many people the district had.

Perhaps, since Anastasiades is from Limassol, the municipality said, he did not have the opportunity to visit Kyrenia prior to 1974.

It said that the municipalities of Kyrenia, Lapithos and Karavas alone had 12,000 residents while the district, according to a 1973 census, numbered 32,586 people, 4,382 of whom were TCs.


TC driver fined for offering taxi services without permit

Phileleftheros
Economy

OVERVIEW

A TC man, 50, was slapped with a €250 fine on Tuesday by the Nicosia district court for offering taxi services using his personal vehicle without having the necessary permit.

The man was caught at the Ayios Dometios crossing transferring three persons whom he had picked up from the Larnaca airport. He was to drive them to Kyrenia for an €80 fee.

Police, according to Phileleftheros, will intensify checks following the incident to clamp down on the practise of many casinos and hotels in the north who send their own drivers to pick up their guests who arrive on the island through the government-controlled airports, instead of using the services of GC taxi drivers.

GC taxi drivers have been strongly reacting to this practice, it said.


Race to spare Ktima Mackenzie from demolition

Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros, Politis
Property, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The users of events hall Ktima Makenzy in Larnaca Mackenzie area have secured an injunction halting a demolition order issued by the municipality last week, buying time to reach an agreement with the TC owner to buy the property.

The users of the property had applied for an injunction stopping its demolition, ordered by a court more than two years ago.

The guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties had wrongly leased the land to a private individual in 2010. Previously, the court had ruled the land be handed over to its Turkish Cypriot owner, a British citizen.

The court issued the injunction order and scheduled a hearing for next week to hear from all sides, including the interior minister who has a March 22 deadline to demolish the building and vacate the property.