LAST UPDATE: 10:55
“The EU has a strategic interest in a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the development of a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey. Pursuing dialogue in good faith and abstaining from unilateral actions which run counter to the EU interests and violate international law and the sovereign rights of EU Member States is an absolute requirement in this regard. All differences must be resolved through peaceful dialogue and in accordance with international law. In this context, the European Council reiterates its full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, whose sovereignty and sovereign rights must be respected,” according to the conclusions of the European Council special summit.
“The EU welcomes the recent confidence building steps by Greece and Turkey, as well as the announcement that they will resume their direct exploratory talks aiming at the delimitation of the Continental Shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone of the two countries. These efforts need to be sustained and broadened,” it said and added: “At the same time, the European Council strongly condemns violations of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus which must stop. The European Council calls on Turkey to abstain from similar actions in the future, in breach of international law. The European Council underlines that delimitation of the Continental Shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone should be addressed through dialogue and negotiation in good faith, in full respect of international law, and calls on Turkey to accept the invitation by Cyprus to engage in dialogue with the objective of settling all maritime-related disputes between Turkey and Cyprus.”
Moreover, the European Council supports the speedy resumption of negotiations, under the auspices of the UN, and remains fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework and in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions, including UNSC resolutions 550 and 789, and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded. It expects the same of Turkey. The EU stands ready to play an active role in supporting the negotiations, including by appointing, upon resumption, a representative to the UN Good Offices Mission.
According to the conclusions, “provided constructive efforts to stop illegal activities vis-à-vis Greece and Cyprus are sustained, the European Council has agreed to launch a positive political EU-Turkey agenda with a specific emphasis on the modernisation of the Customs Union and trade facilitation, people to people contacts, High level dialogues, continued cooperation on migration issues, in line with the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement. The European Council invites its President, in cooperation with the President of the Commission and with the support of the High Representative, to develop a proposal for re-energising the EU-Turkey agenda to this effect.”
“Recalling and reaffirming i.a. its previous conclusions on Turkey of October 2019, in case of renewed unilateral actions or provocations in breach of international law, the EU will use all the instruments and the options at its disposal, including in accordance with Article 29 TEU and Article 215 TFEU, in order to defend its interests and those of its Member States.”
The European Council also said that it will continue to closely monitor developments and will revert accordingly and take decisions as appropriate at the latest at its December meeting.
Finally, the European Council calls for a Multilateral Conference on the Eastern Mediterranean and invites the High Representative to engage in talks about its organisation. “Modalities such as participation, scope and timeline will need to be agreed with all involved parties. The Conference could address issues on which multilateral solutions are needed, including maritime delimitation, security, energy, migration and economic cooperation.”
Greek govt: The summit conclusions reflect Greece’s positions
The text of conclusions reflects the positions of Greece, as expressed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis upon his arrival to the special summit of the European Council, government sources said early on Friday.
It was a very difficult negotiation, the sources noted, adding, however, that the final text adopted as regards the positions of Greece and Cyprus is better than the one that was originally proposed.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stressed that “nobody can drive a wedge between us.”
“Thus, the EU is sending today a message of unity, solidarity and determination. Turkey’s unilateral are condemned,” she said while sending a clear message that should these actions continue, the EU has a ‘toolbox’ ready to be used.
“It becomes clear that the exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey concern the delimitation of maritime zones (continental shelf – EEZ). It is clear that for the first time Turkey’s attitude towards Greece and Cyprus was at the centre of a marathon meeting of the summit, it was not just a part of the agenda under discussion,” the same sources underlined.
“The summit unequivocally condemns the violation of the sovereign rights of Cyprus and makes explicit reference to the decisions and resolutions of the UN Security Council to resolve the Cyprus issue,” they added.
“As the prime minister has repeatedly stressed, the dialogue with Turkey is open, but a necessary condition for that is that no illegal actions be taken on its part. And this was confirmed at the summit,” the government sources concluded.
Greek PM Mitsotakis: Greece satisfied with the conclusions of the summit
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday expressed Athens’ satisfaction with the conclusions of the summit, upon his arrival for the second day of the special European Council. Mitsotakis said the EU had also clearly outlined the consequences if Turkey continued its aggressive behavior.
Specifically, the Greek prime minister underlined: “The EU sent a clear message of unity, solidarity and determination. It made it very clear that the ending of any unilateral action is a condition for improving EU-Turkey relations, something that we all want. It also made absolutely clear, however, what the consequences will be if Turkey continues its aggressive behavior. Greece is absolutely satisfied with the conclusions of the summit and we look forward to the start of exploratory contacts as soon as possible, as both sides have committed to doing.