GCC Press Review 12 Dec 2021

Front Page Headlines

Sunday Mail

‘No going back’ on tax reforms

No changes likely within the next year as planning still at initial stages.

  • Minister and Disy leader squaring up for top prize


‘Platform’ of secret diplomacy for natural gas

Gunboat ‘law’ and… de facto triple partition of the EEZ.

  • The ‘wildcat’ drill… Qatara for Erdogan
  • The usurper who became a beggar and the TCs that are remaining silent


Red card to GESY from Petrides-Odysseas

Study: The pathogenesis of a health system.

  • Revealing minutes document: Why is the EU not consenting to strong measures against Turkey?


Energy once again a ‘catalyst’

Background procedures to decompress tension, offering incentives to Ankara. Leading role from Germany.

  • The 24th Special Representative got to work: Colin Stewart’s bet
  • The dramatic night of December 12: 19 years from the Copenhagen Summit
  • The UN’s event is not at all innocent
  • Danger in the dead zone
  • Andri Savva (opinion): Women’s voices where the Cyprus problem is discussed


The secret dialogues on Varosha

The German ‘no’ to measures against Turkey in Coreper and the stance of other partners.

  • Occupied areas: Elections in the whirlpool of multiple crises
  • Energy: The game is extended in the Eastern Mediterranean


Expensiveness is rendering basic goods and shelter inaccessible

AKEL is putting pressure, the EU is giving tools, but the government is whistling indifferently.

  • EU FMs: If sanctions aren’t the endgoal, they are a threat for the resumption of dialogue


Hot questions

On the import of the ‘Omicron’ mutating to Cyprus.

  • Political analysis: Cyprus was not partitioned due to plans but due to clumsy handling by Greek Cypriots
  • Christos Panayiotides (opinion): The tracer shells of the 5 years between 1959-64 and the prophetic letter of Fasil Kutchuk

Main News

Nicosia likely to be disappointed at FAC, papers report

Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters


EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell is set to present before the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on Monday the options paper for the EU’s response to Turkey’s actions in Varosha, the papers report, but neither believe Nicosia will see any substantial results.

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides departed for Brussels on Sunday. The options paper is to be discussed under the ‘current affairs’ category.

Politis publishes the minutes of the preliminary discussion held amongst the permanent representatives of the member states (Coreper) which were finalised on Friday, and according to which the paper writes Monday’s discussion among the FAC is not looking positive, since there is no unanimous support for sanctions against Turkey. Politis reports that while Cyprus’ EU partners are expressing their solidarity with Cyprus, some are opposed to the proposals being submitted by Christodoulides.

Politis reports citing the Cyprus News Agency that it appears that EU FMs are moving along the lines of individual sanctions against people responsible for the reopening of Varosha, while also being discussed is the reduction of funds from Turkey’s pre-accession budget. As such, Cyprus’ proposal for the freezing of the EU’s high-level dialogue with Turkey as well as for the imposition of serious legal and financial sanctions appear to be rejected.

Behind this milder stance, according to Politis, are the disagreements among member states regarding the appropriate form of EU response. Publishing the Coreper minutes, Politis shows that Germany showed solidarity with Cyprus but underlined the need to maintain incentives through the EU-Turkey dialogue. Germany also viewed the current option paper as not reflecting this position, since it suggests cuts on pre-accession assistance and hampers EU-Turkey economic cooperation. Germany argued that work should focus on confidence-building measures (CBMs) on the island, and that it is not good to target civil society, a point on which Romania agreed. Italy too said that focus should be maintained on finding incentives and not o negative measures, which again Romania agreed to.

Cyprus’ representative then recalled that Varosha is EU territory and that Turkey needs to reverse its illegal actions, finding agreement from Slovenia. Cyprus added that the non-paper does not present concrete deterrent measures such as the suspension of the high-level agenda, including political dialogues, and credible financial and sectoral measures.

Politis reports that given the lack of agreement amongst all member states, it will be difficult to see substantial measures against Turkey. The paper adds that key to how this will develop is the stance to be held by Germany’s new FM Annalena Baerbock from the German Greens party. The paper writes that among the leaders of the Greens in Germany is Cem Ozdemir, a Turk who might not be a supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but is in favour of continuing to approach Turkey. Politis believes that Germany will in fact take an even stronger position against drastic measures against Turkey.

Politis reports citing a diplomatic source that the discussion of the options paper might even be postponed for January.

Phileleftheros reports that backstage moves are focusing on creating a packet of CBMs that would include natural gas in order to avoid sanctions against Turkey and in view of resuming Cyprob processes. The paper writes that this approach is nothing new, since similar efforts have been made in the past to no avail. Phileleftheros reports that Nicosia is opposed to the discussion of CBMs, since the topic of discussion is measures against Turkey, and the proposition of CBMs would only take the matter to a bicommunal level instead of an EU level.

Overall, Phileleftheros too reports that things aren’t looking too good for Nicosia in Monday’s FAC. The paper looks at how Germany has sought to cover up Turkey’s behaviour by broadening the topics of discussion to include CBMs.

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