Cowen: Ireland Ready to Help Cyprus' Application for EU Membership
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., has told the Cypriot Chief EU Negotiator, former President George Vassiliou, that Cyprus is well to the forefront of the applicant countries, having already concluded 18 of the 29 chapters in the negotiation process. Speaking in Iveagh House today the Minister reiterated Ireland's willingness to help in the accession process in any way it can and reminded Mr. Vassiliou of Ireland's full support for the UN's efforts to achieve a solution to the division of the island, based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal, federal approach.
The Nice European Council of December 2000 endorsed the European Commission's Strategy Paper on Enlargement which proposed a timetable for concluding negotiations by mid-2002. According to the Council, this will place the Union in a position to welcome those new Member States which are ready as and from the end of 2002.
The Treaty of Nice prepares the way for a significant enlargement of the European Union and the Minister said that it is central to "the continuing development of the Union from which the Irish people have enjoyed substantial economic benefits, reflected in unprecedented levels of employment, growth and prosperity." Top