File Photo: Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives for the Informal Summit of Heads of State or Government of the European Union, held at the City Hall of Sibiu city, 275 Km north from Bucharest, Romania. EPA, ROBERT GHEMENT
The European Union must send a clear message to Turkey, so that it stops its illegal activities in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras underlined during the informal EU leaders’ summit taking place here on Thursday.
In a statement made after the summit, Tsipras said that he had fully support Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and that they jointly highlighted Turkey’s illegal actions.
The Greek prime minister said the summit meeting had focused on the future of Europe with respect to strengthening social cohesion, emphasising the need for a “social Europe, [that is] attractive to its citizens, with less austerity and more growth.”
According to a Greek diplomatic source, meanwhile, the Juncker spirit – who on arriving at the summit stated that ‘Today I am Cypriot’ – prevailed during the summit meeting, where Turkey’s activities in the Cypriot EEZ were discussed at length.
Anastasiades and Tsipras spoke successively during the summit, the source said, with Tsipras noting that the discussion on Europe’s future necessarily also focuses on upgrading its role in international developments. According to the Greek prime minister, the EU cannot have a reliable international role if it is unable to protect the sovereign rights of its member-states and is unable to ensure stability in its own neighbourhood, the Western Balkans.
Regarding possible sanctions against Turkey, other diplomatic sources said these could take the form of sanctions against individuals linked to the company that is engaged in the activities in the Cypriot EEZ, or others that are related to EU-Turkey relations, such as pre-accession funds, dialogue on revising customs union, or dialogue on strategic cooperation.
Tsipras and Anastasiades also had contacts with the leaders of countries that have investment partnerships with Turkey, such as France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, to discuss the next steps, diplomatic sources said, reporting a “positive” response but also noting the need to remain calm and consider everything carefully.