Cyprus: small sized but strategically located

Cyprus Flag. Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov

On 17 September, Ioannis Kasoulides, the Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Vice-president of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, visited the Elcano Royal Institute for a working lunch.

Mr Kasoulides highlighted the close relations between Spain and Cyprus, with both countries sharing positions on issues such as the international (non) recognition of Kosovo. He also expressed his country’s sympathy for Spain in the dispute over Gibraltar.

The Minister expressed his own and his government’s interest in moving forward with the banking, fiscal and economic unions, which equip the EU with more powers to resolve its internal problems, partly due to the weak foundations of the Economic and Monetary Union.

During the debate, a suggestion was made that some sort of Visegrad group (or V4) could be created for the EU’s Mediterranean countries. The V4 group –the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia– has shown that it is more likely for groups of countries to get what they want if they have previously negotiated a common position before a European Council meeting.

A number of other issues were put on the table during the debate, generally related to Cyprus’s strategic location. Despite its small size, Cyprus has a role to play as regards the Middle Eastern scenario and, especially, in terms of the EU’s relations with Turkey, Egypt and Israel.