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Christmas Day Service (Cyprus)

Volume 522: debated on Tuesday 1 February 2011

12. What discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the disruption of a Christmas day service in Rizokarpaso, Cyprus. (37151)

We have not had discussions in an EU context on this deeply regrettable incident, but my officials in Nicosia have met Archbishop Chrysostomos and made representations to senior political figures in the north of the island to emphasise the importance that we accord to allowing people in all parts of Cyprus to practise their religion freely.

I thank the Minister for those words on the unacceptable behaviour of Turkey’s troops in disrupting a Christmas day mass. Does he agree that Turkey should not be allowed to accede to the EU without guaranteeing religious freedoms?

Any candidate country that wants EU membership has to subscribe to, and apply, the democratic values that are central to the European Union, including the freedom to express religion and to worship freely.