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Cyprus: EC Aid

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made in disbursing the 259 million euro earmarked by the European Union for expenditure in northern Cyprus; and if he will make a statement. (245049)

The European Union is providing €259 million of aid to the Turkish Cypriot community, to help bring them closer to Europe and so facilitate a settlement. As of October 2008, the projects contracted reaches a cumulative total of €60.8 million since inception, the total amount tendered reaches €119.5 million and the total paid €25.5 million. While implementation of the regulation has been slower than originally anticipated, the benefits are already being felt. The European Commission is responsible for administering the assistance. A programme team of Commission officials and contract agents was set up in 2006 to implement the programme as part of the Task Force Turkish Cypriot Community within DG Enlargement.

Ongoing projects include a successful programme of scholarships for Turkish Cypriot students and teachers to study and teach in EU universities, grant schemes for civil society and targeted support to farmers to upgrade their equipment. Full details are contained in the Commission’s most recent annual report on the implementation of the financial aid package. We agree with their conclusion that the current settlement negotiations

“will create a positive framework for facilitating the implementation and the success of this aid package”

and look forward to rapid implementation of outstanding projects.