The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, issued today the following statement:
The European Union welcomes the agreement announced today by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders on a Joint Declaration, which lays a solid foundation for resumption of negotiations for a fair and viable comprehensive settlement of the longstanding Cyprus problem. This Joint Declaration should help them to swiftly address matters of substance and to achieve rapid results in the negotiations. President Van Rompuy and President Barroso congratulate and salute the courage the two leaders have shown in agreeing it.
At the time of accession of Cyprus, the European Union declared its readiness to accommodate the terms of a settlement in line with the principles on which the Union is founded. As previously announced, the European Commission is keen to play its part in supporting the negotiations, conducted under UN auspices and to offer all the support the parties and the UN find most useful. As the negotiations resume, President Barroso's personal representative will contribute actively to the search for constructive solutions in compliance with the EU acquis to overcome outstanding problems. In parallel, the European Commission will also step up its efforts to help the Turkish Cypriot Community prepare for implementation of the acquis.
The European Union also supports the efforts to reach an agreement between the two parties on a package of Confidence-Building Measures which can help to create momentum towards a settlement to the benefit of Cypriot people. The European Union stands ready to look creatively at how to contribute to this objective in the prospects of a final settlement.