16th July 2012: This contribution from Andrew Brons came last Thursday at the European Parliament in Brussels during a debate in the Constitutional affairs Committee (AFCO) on 12th July 2012, following A Presentation from Andreas Mavroyiannis, representing the Cypriot Presidency of the Council.
"Minister, you said that Europe must get closer to its neighbours. We must first encourage them not to be countries of transit for illegal immigration. In the case of Turkey (one of the main transit countries through which illegal immigrants come) that will be difficult because Turkey refuses to recognise your Presidency. I am not at the top of the list of enthusiasts for the EU* but even I regard that as an intolerable insult. That is on top of the insult in the fact that one third of your country is currently under occupation by Turkey. Do you think no negotiations with Turkey should take place on its candidature, while the occupation continues?
"You spoke of encouraging a European identity and consciousness, presumably to sustain the concept of European citizenship. I do not object to a European identity (as distinct from citizenship) as an addition to and secondary to, national consciousness. However, I am interested to know how that European identity will be enhanced by the eventual accession of Turkey, which is not European, in terms of its history, its antecedents, its culture or even of 90% of its geography.
"I should like now to refer to European Political Parties. They will first be permitted, then they will be compulsory for the elections to the Pan European constituency when that comes into being. How long will it be before they become compulsory for all European elections. That will restrict elections and therefore the European Parliament to those with a European Union perspective. We heard yesterday that the European Union should decide the issues at European elections. European Political Parties will be the instrument for doing just that."
Response From The Cypriot Deputy Minister For Europe, Mr. Andreas Mavroyiannis:
He assured Andrew that he did not believe in restricting European elections to European Political Parties and said that they should be open even to parties that were not (Pro-) European (Union).
On the question of identity, he said that in the foreseeable future the two identities would exist together but that we could not do away with national identity.
On the question of Turkey’s attitude to the Cypriot Presidency, he said that the Cypriot Presidency had to act professionally. However, he did feel insulted personally by Turkey’s attitude.
On the question of Turkey’s candidature as a member of the European Union, he said that it was not up to him to change a decision that had been taken several years ago.
* This is a literary understatement, just in case some 'Mr.Logic' literalist thinks that Andrew is playing down his opposition to the European Union!