GCC Press Review 27 Feb 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Brussels ‘sound the alarm’ over the reforms

Warning for the future prospects of the Cypriot economy. The reduction of non-performing loans and public debt are a top priority. The Commission stresses the importance of opening up the electricity market.

  • Increased measures at the crossings – The president will be briefed today on (measures) on the coronavirus. For the moment there will be no restrictions to the crossing of persons from the occupied to the free areas.
  • Immigrants: Education is a challenge
  • Turkey: Erdogan insists on Idlib

Phileleftheros

Three women in isolation

They arrived from Italy, they had come in contact with confirmed coronavirus cases. Concerns over the crossings. They are discussing closing them during the evenings and full prohibition in the crossing of foreign nationals.

  • The EU’s first list of sanctions is being approved  by the (Competitiveness) Council
  • Erhurman: Committee also on the airport and gas

Haravgi

The Cypriot economy is on the wrong path

The Commission published yesterday its multi-page analytical report which, among other things, suggests a change to Cyprus’ growth model. The Commission warns that economic growth is slowing down while the trade deficit rises. Our people’s impoverishment is also marked.

  • Coronavirus: Protection measures without panic – Two suspected cases in Cyprus.
  • Mustafa Denizer is the personification of the struggle for co-existence between GCs and TCs
  • Schools-ghettoes for foreign pupils – From primary to high school without knowing Greek. Need for foundation classes during the morning teaching time.

Cyprus Mail

More staff for crossing points

Woman tested for virus, students return home from Italy, Greece reports first case.

Alithia

Hindering the arrival of natural gas means expensive electricity!

‘No’ by the EAC (electricity authority) to the government. Surprise and question marks by the government over the EAC board’s decision to reject the utility’s participation in the Natural Gas Infrastructure Company (ETYFA). If that decision does not change, the electricity will not become cheaper by 15% – 20%.

  • The coronavirus quarantine centres are to be announced – Health Minister: Reactions will not derail the effort for the protection of public health. The first Cypriot woman in isolation as a precaution after coming in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case in Italy.
  • Businesses in the occupied areas are going bankrupt

Main News

More staff at crossings to prevent spread of Covid 19

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
CBMs

OVERVIEW

The government has announced it would send more staff at the crossings to better monitor people as part of prevention measures against the spread of coronavirus, while three Cypriot women arriving from Italy who have come in contact with confirmed Covid 19 cases are in isolation, the papers report.

Media reported later on Thursday that all three women have tested negative for the Covid-19 virus but will remain confined as a precaution.

The dailies report that Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou announced on Wednesday after a meeting with the foreign and justice ministers and the interior ministry’s permanent secretary that more staff would be promptly dispatched to the crossings to improve screening as part of efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The government will also distribute flyers with information on the coronavirus to all households.

Phileleftheros, citing sources, reports that more measures will be discussed at cabinet today, including the possibility of strict restrictions at crossings, even closing them down during the evening hours. Another proposal concerned imposing restrictions so that only GCs and TCs can cross between the two sides since the large numbers of third-country nationals in the occupied areas, mainly from Iran where there have increased coronavirus cases causes great concern.

Politis reports that it was deemed that these measures are not necessary for the moment.

Phileleftheros cites experts saying that the arrival of coronavirus is inevitable due to the movement to and from the island of many people from high-risk countries but said there was no reason for panic.

The daily, also citing sources, reports that state services are pondering over installing the two thermal cameras the government owns at the airports to screen passengers arriving from China, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Iran.

Haravgi reports that the minister, when asked if the extra measures at the crossings would be conveyed through the Technical Committee on Health, made clear that what he found during his on-site visit to the Ledra Street crossing was that there was need to reinforce these points with more police staff.

Cyprus Mail reports that Ioannou also visited the Ledra Street crossing where information posters have been put up in four languages, Greek, Turkish, English and Chinese. He said he was satisfied with the measures being taken at crossing points but more could be done. One of the possible problems is communication, he said, since, despite the fact the information flyers are in four languages, the possibility of printing them in other languages will be looked into. He added that police officers check the stamps on the passports of persons crossing to confirm that they have not recently been to the countries that are considered high-risk. The daily also reported that queues at the crossing points are likely to get longer.

The minister also said Greece would not be put on the list of high-risk countries after Athens confirmed the country’s first coronavirus case on Wednesday. He added that it is the World Health Organisation that determines which countries are high-risk, based on the epidemiological data available, the paper reported.


EU to approve measures against Turkey’s activities off Cyprus

Phileleftheros
EU Matters, Energy

OVERVIEW

The daily reports that the EU’s Competitiveness Council is expected to approve today the first list of sanctions against persons involved in Turkey’s illegal activities off Cyprus.

Citing information, the paper reports that the list includes two Turkish nationals who are important executives of businesses that have an essential role in Ankara’s illegal activities in Cyprus’ marine zones. Any assets they may possess in EU countries will be frozen while they will be banned entry to EU countries.

According to the daily, the Competitiveness Council is to approve the list today without any discussion since all member-states have already unanimously agreed on that measure.

Circles in Brussels expect that the announcement of the list will trigger a sharp reaction from Ankara, as per the warning by the Erdogan government. The Turkish president had sent a letter to Brussels to prevent targeted measures, indicating that sanctions against the two Turkish citizens were a condemnation of Turkey and its policy in the Eastern Mediterranean, the daily reports.

Though this list cannot be considered as an adequate response to Turkey’s illegal activities, it is a first substantive and tangible condemnation by the EU and its members that sends out a message to Turkey and the companies attempting to assist her. At the same time, this creates expectations to Nicosia for new measures if Ankara insists on this tactic of illegal activities in Cyprus’ marine zones, the paper reported.

It added that Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides is discussing with his counterparts the possibility of expanding the list.


Cyprob portfolio in hands of new UK Under-Secretary of State for EU

Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

The papers report that Conservative Party MP Wendy Morton has been appointed as the new Under-Secretary of State for European Neighbourhood and is now in charge also of the Cyprus problem portfolio.

Phileleftheros reports that prior to her appointment to the Foreign Office, she served as Undersecretary of Justice. Morton has so far had no close relationship with members of the UK Cypriot community, although she is believed to have received about 15 e-mails from her constituents during the ‘Hands off Cyprus’ campaign of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, calling for backing against the Turkish provocations and the Turkish occupation of the island, the daily reports.


AKEL honours TC member for 65 years of service

Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Human Rights, Governance & Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

AKEL on Wednesday honoured Mustafa Denizer, 85, who has been a member of the party for 65 years and who remained true to the struggle for the co-existence of the two communities, the dailies report.

During a ceremony in Larnaca, AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said that despite Denizer was forced to migrate to the UK since his life was in danger on the island due to his ideology, he is the personification of the common course of the two communities.

“We owe to people like Mustafa, what we are today. Thanks to people like Mustafa, we can proudly talk about the common political, labour and social struggles we have given with our fellow TCs in those difficult years,” Kyprianou said.

He also said that the political message of such events is the need to adhere to the goal of the solution, and the bizonal, bicommunal federation, as described in the UN texts.

He said that if the two sides abandon the federal solution, the majority of GC parties will be talking about a unitary state and the majority of TC parties about two states. If such a thing happens, the way will be paved for the final partition of the island, he said.

Kyprianou also referred extensively on nationalism stressing that it must be dealt with politically and with determination.

Haravgi reports that Denizer in his speech stressed the importance of the bicommunal events and meetings organised during the past years between CTP’s (Republican Turkish Party) Trikomo branch and AKEL’s Larnaca branch.

He also referred to the troubled years on the island and the fascist activities of organisations in both communities at the time, noting that he was forced to flee to the UK, after threats by fascists in Cyprus, the daily reports.

He also referred to organising AKEL in London and his meeting with the late Ezekias Papaioannou and Demetris Christofias.

KEY ACTORS
Kyprianou (AKEL)
>>
Stresses the need to stick to the goal of the BBF solution warning that a different approach would lead to the final partition of the island.
>> Nationalism must be tackled politically and with determination.