For my policy paper I want to discuss a particular section of the EU’s membership criteria of the it’s enlargement policy: “stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities.” I want to analyze this policy against the backdrop of the Cyprus accession into the EU on May1, 2004. An ethnically divided island between the Greek and Turkish peoples, Cyprus has been one of the longest running conflicts that have been unsuccessfully mediated and negotiated; Cyprus’s accession without unification was made possible and the island became a full member state in the EU but only represented by the Greek Cypriots.
Looking at this specific policy, the puzzle it seems is that there does not appear to be a clear definition of certain terms in this policy which has allowed for controversial enlargement such as Cyprus. This policy is a condition to which countries, mainly those under previous Soviet control, must adhere to if they wish to seek membership into the EU; however, this policy has led to a controversial accession and I think it is worth analyzing to ensure that the policy is sound.
Here is a short examination of the aftermath of the accession of Cyprus into the EU:
Today, the northern Cypriot government, the TNRC, is only recognized by Turkey, while the EU and all other countries recognize the Republic of Cyprus as the only legitimate government for the whole island. However, the Republic of Cyprus only controls the southern Greek portion of the state while the northern government, which is seen as a Turkish military occupation zone by the EU, is controlled by the Turkish Cypriots. So by virtue, the north is considered to be under the rule of the Republic of Cyprus, but since the EU views the north as a Turkish military zone, it is exempt from EU legislation. The European Parliament allocates seats based on the population of a state; in Cyprus’ case, the EP gives seats based on the entire Cyprus island population but only to the southern Cyprus individuals. In essence, the Greek Cypriots are have more leverage in the parliament because of the Turkish Cypriot population but does not allocate any benefits or power to them.