Comments on the Cypriot Presidency in the Plenary

Mr President,

As I visited Cyprus in spring last year, I wondered how the country would deal with the EU Presidency. A small island with so much diversity looks like Europe in a nutshell. There are Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and next to them Russians, British, Lebanese and many other people running around in Cyprus. I admit, I was also sceptical because you Mr Christofias, are a long standing Communist, you were trained at the Party School in Moscow in the 1970s. It sounds scary for European conservatives. You are in fact the first, and I presume the last, communist rotating President of the EU. You are also the only Communist I know who is against the FTT. Please convince your Comrades here.

At the end of your Presidency I want to be honest. I think you, your government and your officials did very well. Let me address you in the language of Vladimir Iljitsch Lenin: Благодарю за хорошую работу и желаю процветания Кипру! Since Russian is not an official language of the EU yet, I thanked the President for the good work and whish him a blossoming Cyprus.

But unfortunately, Cyprus is not blossoming. In fact, it is in need of a bail-out. Mr President, you are getting from the rouble to the rubble. If bailed out, the debt of Cyprus jumps up to 150 percent of GDP. So, who are we bailing out: you or Russian billionaires? Cyprus established a good record as rotating President. There is a budget for this year. Progress has been made on Banking Supervision. The Single European Patent was agreed after 30 years.

One dossier remained stuck however: the 'two-pack' to assure fiscal discipline in the eurozone. But that is not your fault. In fact, it is our fault. The Parliament has to approve this piece of legislation soon. But, oddly enough, it is held ransom by the leader of the Liberal Group, Mr Verhofstadt. He demands mutualisation of debt, like redemptions funds and euro bonds, in return. I know Mr Verhofstadt for about 20 years now. Mostly it was a pleasure, because life would be boring without him. But it struck me that he always wants to jump from A to Z, whereas you are unable to get from A to B. To get proper underpinning for the euro, we need the two-pack. We need to progress step by step, from A to B, to C and so on. I appeal to the Liberal Group to approve the two-pack. Please, practise what you preach. Mr Kristofias, you have learned that ideology falters and practical steps pave the way to results. In Russian: Thank you very much and all the best.