Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton TD, is in Cyprus today (Thursday) to meet the new Cypriot Minister for European Affairs, Mr Andreas Mavroyiannis. Minister Creighton will discuss preparations for Ireland's presidency of the European Union. Ireland takes over the EU presidency from Cyprus on 1st January 2013.
Speaking in Nicosia, Minister Creighton said: "A core component of our presidency preparations will be closely following the progress made by both the Danish and Cypriot presidencies on key issues including the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, the reform of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies and climate change issues.
Developments during the Cypriot presidency next year will have a direct effect on Ireland's presidency. Cyprus and Ireland are obvious and natural partners: we are small island nations that know well the experience of division and conflict. We have both benefitted greatly from our membership of the European Union and we we share similar positions on CAP, fisheries policies and taxation policy. Like Ireland, Cyprus is a member of the euro area and my visit will provide an opportunity to review and assess the developments of recent days."
Minister Creighton will also meet the Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and pay a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis.
Ireland has provided personnel to the United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) since 1964. There are currently 18 Gardai serving with the UNFICYP and Minister Creighton will meet Senior Police Adviser John Farrelly, a former Garda Chief Superintendent.
The Minister will also visit the Cyprus Centre for European and International Affairs and develop media contacts as part of the Government's strategy of re-engagement.