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European Commission allocates €31.7m aid for Turkish Cypriots

The European Commission announced that €31.7m will be granted in aid to the Turkish Cypriot community, under the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community and reunification efforts.

It said the amount will go towards supporting Turkish Cypriot halloumi producers to meet the PDO standards, supporting trade across the Green Line, local businesses, and continuing the support to the bicommunal Committee for Missing Persons, and bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage. It will also cover scholarships for students from both communities.

The support which was approved through the 2023 Annual Action Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community will come from the EU budget.

According to the Commission’s decision, these funds will be allocated towards the objectives of the development and restructuring of infrastructure, the promotion of social and economic development, towards reconciliation and confidence-building measures as well as support to civil society. They will also sponsore the preparation of legal texts aligned with the EU acquis for the purpose of these being immediately applicable upon the entry into force of a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus Problem, and preparation for implementation of the acquis in areas not controlled by the government in the eventuality of a solution.

The programme includes tailored measures to help Turkish Cypriots meet the standards outlined in the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) file for Halloumi/Hellim before the end of 2024. According to the terms of the registration of the PDO, Turkish Cypriot producers will be able to sell halloumi across the Green Line once the relevant EU food safety and animal health standards are met.

Also, in line with efforts to meet the European Green Deal priorities across the island, the programme will further promote energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives.

The programme will also continue to support trade across the Green Line and ensure compliance with EU product and production standards, including in the area of product safety. Specialised testing equipment will be made available for this purpose.

Tailored technical assistance and grants will be offered to local businesses and support to vocational education and training will be provided. This will enhance youth employment and facilitate labour mobility across the Green Line.

Finally, the programme will continue to provide substantial financing to the Committee on Missing Persons and the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage. Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot high school students will be offered support to jointly attend the United World Colleges (UWC) as part of the bi-communal scholarship programme. Civil society organisations will receive grants to foster human rights, active citizenship and reconciliation.

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