GCC Press Review 13 July 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Sloppiness as regards foreclosures framework

The finance minister will recommend to the president to refer the changes made by parliament. The House plenum approved temporary freezing of foreclosures but also changes to the legal framework. (Finance Minister) Harris Georgiades speaks of law rendered toothless and undermining of public interest.

  • EU measures (against Turkey) passed unanimously

Phileleftheros

Veto by the president to the changes

Parliament removed the means from the banks with changes to the law on foreclosures. Postponement of foreclosures of homes whose owners can benefit from the Estia scheme and extension of deadlines for the rest.

  • Nicosia opened an “account of measures” against Turkey – Sanctions in the second phase.
  • Reluctance by Akinci on Lute’s  new initiative
  • Vindication for the Kurdish fighter Cerkez Korkmaz
  • The S-400 have started arriving in Turkey

Haravgi

Anachronisms in education

The introduction of four-monthly exams as of the next school year is a backward step and an anachronism in education that victimises children and renders the educational system exams-centred. Parliament, with AKEL’s disagreement, passed the regulation hurriedly prepared by the education ministry. Organised students already announced reaction measures.

  • An event to honour and remember (organised) by the AKEL Central Committee in Dhali (on the occasion of the anniversaries of the coup and invasion)

Cyprus Mail

MPs freeze foreclosures

Georgiades will ask the president to veto the bills.

  • Russia delivers missile system to Turkey

Alithia

Fiery laws with pros and cons

In yesterday’s last meeting of the House (before summer vacations). The postponement of foreclosures a bomb under the foundations of the banking system, with the president proceeding with referral of the bills back to parliament. Reforms in education, agriculture, aviation were approved. The problem of trapped real estate buyers was solved.

  • Turkey threatens EU with countermeasures to the measures in favour of Cyprus
  • Lifting of arms embargo: The Cicilline amendment was approved
  • Akinci: This is how we spoke – The CBM on mobile telephony is a complicated one.
  • Justice has decided: Korkaz will not be extradited to Germany
  • Erdogan acted on his words on the S-400: They have been delivered by Russia
  • The Cyprob on pause during the last two years – The unprecedented admission by the UN Secretary-General on the situation in Cyprus. Holds the leadership of the two sides directly responsible for the blame game, the persistent deadlock, lack of will, differences on the substance of the Cyprob. Antonio Guterres is concerned about increasing tensions in the sea and accumulation of naval and military forces and calls for the development of natural gas to the benefit of the two communities and the solution.
  • EU: They cannot agree on measures against Turkey
  • Move against Greece: Turkey is pushing it to the extremes She is going for her own EEZ in the Mediterranean following an agreement with the questionable regime of Libya!

Main News

Lute back soon, Akinci not that eager for visit

Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

The papers report that a meeting between the two leaders is on the cards after their telephone conversation this week but it remains to be seen if they will have a joint meeting with UN envoy Jane Holl Lute expected on the island soon.

According to Haravgi, after her telephone conversation with President Nicos Anastasiades earlier in the week, Lute also called TC leader Mustafa Akinci on Friday.

Lute is expected on the island within three weeks to continue her efforts as regards the Cyprus problem. It is believed that prior to her arrival in Cyprus, she will have meetings with the guarantor powers, the daily reports.

Phileleftheros, citing sources reported that it is not yet known how Lute will go about it but did not rule out aborting the idea of agreeing on terms of reference for the resumption of talks. The daily also reports, citing the same sources, that Akinci seems reluctant as regards Lute’s new initiative.

According to the papers, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides assessed that there would be developments during the last ten days of July but there was nothing to announce at the moment.

What would help the resumption of talks, however, is the termination of Turkish illegal activities, he said.

The options at the moment are either a meeting of the two leaders with Lute or with the UN Secretary-General or a conference with the same composition as in Crans-Montana, he said.

“Whether there is ground for the resumption of talks from where we left off in Crans Montana will be explored. There are some points we disagree on and we must see how to tackle these disagreements,” the minister said.

Christodoulides said the disagreements are very specific and efforts must be focused on them, adding that Anastasiades’ ideas do not annul convergences but aim at solving problems that had arisen at the talks in Geneva, Mont Pelerin and Crans Montana.

According to Phileleftheros, Anastasiades will start next week separate meetings with political leaders to brief them on the latest developments, the papers report.

Haravgi also reports in another article that the House plenum on Friday abolished through a legal amendment the existing incompatibility of the civil service with the negotiator’s position and regulated the pension benefits of the holder of the post.

AKEL was against this amendment arguing that the negotiator will not be in a a position to carry out his duties properly if he is also serving as Cyprus’ Permanent Representative at the UN in New York, Haravgi reports. [Reviewer’s note: The amendment was promoted by the government after negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis was also appointed as Cyprus’ Permanent Representative at the UN, which AKEL had argued was not in line with the law.]

Haravgi reports that after almost four years since the CBM was agreed, phone interoperability has been finally implemented. This too was due to Spehar’s intervention, the paper said.

KEY ACTORS
Christodoulides
>>
If Turkey put a stop to her illegal actions in the Cypriot EEZ, this would help the resumption of talks.
>> The two leaders have the options to either meet with Lute or with the UNSG, or during a conference with the same composition as in Crans-Montana.
>> The two leaders will discuss if there is ground for the resumption of talks  from where things were left off in Crans Montana since there are some very specific points of disagreement that must be addressed.
>> Anastasiades’ ideas do not annul convergences but rather aim at solving problems that had arisen at the talks in Switzerland.

AKEL
>>
Concerns that Mavroyiannis will not be able to exercise his negotiator duties properly if he also has other duties as Cyprus’ permanent rep at the UN


Nicosia satisfied with EU decision, Turkey warns of counter measures

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters, Energy

OVERVIEW

According to the papers Nicosia is satisfied with the measures the EU has unanimously agreed on against Turkey. Turkey, on the other hand, has warned that she would up activities in Cyprus should any measures be taken against her.

The dailies report that the draft text on measures against Turkey prepared by COREPER is set to be presented before the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Monday for adoption after the silent approval procedure ended on Friday afternoon without any objections raised by member states.

The measures, proposed by the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS), concern freezing the EU-Turkey aviation agreement, cutting €146 m from Turkey’s pre-accession funds, freezing the investment activity of the European Investment Bank in Turkey and calling off a series of high-level EU-Turkey dialogues.

Alithia reports that Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said the government is satisfied with the final proposal by the EU institutional organs.

He said Nicosia wanted to have included in the draft that the study on the issue of sanctions would continue so that no new decision would be necessary in the future on whether suggestions should be submitted on targeted measures against Turkey.

Phileleftheros reports that the text calls on the EEAS and the Commission to continue working on proposals on targeted measures and that the Council will monitor developments and return to this issue.

According to Politis, the draft includes three paragraphs that link the EU’s stance both with the Cyprus problem and developments in the Cypriot EEZ, leaving the door open to an escalation of measures against Turkey.

Phileleftheros reports that following disagreements the wording of the text was amended after the intervention of the office of Federica Mogherini so that it calls on the EEAS and the Commission to continue working on proposals for targeted measures and not for possible targeted measures as the initial text had said.

The daily said it is understood that the agreement was a compromise since Nicosia was able to open a ‘tap’ of measures against Turkey following a unanimous EU decision.

It did not get what it wanted but secures an initial package of measures and keeps the prospect open for an escalated reaction by the EU, considering the hostile climate organised by London that was against any thought of targeted measures, the paper reported.

According to the papers, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the EU must not support mistakes for the sake of solidarity and that Turkish expectations on guaranteeing TC rights are clear.

Any steps against us will not help us at all, they will be unproductive. If there are any steps against Turkey just for the sake of solidarity, Turkey will respond but also increase her activities in Cyprus, he said, according to the dailies.

KEY ACTORS
Christodoulides
>>
Nicosia is satisfied with EU proposal of measures against Turkey.
>>
Nicosia wanted to make sure the text’s wording was such so as to leave the door open for escalating measures instead of having to go through the same procedure in the future.

Cavusoglu (Turkey)
>>
Warns that if the EU takes any measures against Turkey just for the sake of solidarity with Cyprus, she would respond with counter-measures but also more activities in Cyprus.
>> All Turkey wants is to ensure the TCs’ rights.