Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-116"

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"Mr President, I also want to thank the presidency, and Mr Roche in particular, for the way in which he has handled our dealings together. I also enjoyed it very much. I must say that sometimes I find it difficult to attack him because he is so nice and so it is difficult to say how much I disagree with the Irish presidency. I thank him very much and it was a pleasure for my Group too to work with the Irish presidency. I have very little time so I just want to concentrate on the question of Cyprus. We all share the sadness at the disappointing result of the referendum. I understand and I respect the response of the Greek Cypriots. I want to believe that they want a solution and that they are not happy with the status quo. But now it is time for them and for us to act. We have to act quickly and positively to ensure that agreement can still be reached this year. The Greek Cypriots should tell us their ideas to ensure that enlargement is completed and the rest of the European Union must assist and remind them that this business cannot remain unfinished. I have two small suggestions. The first is for the Commission and the Council. To say that EUR 289 million have been earmarked is quite good, but how much time elapses between earmarking and spending? I became very worried when I heard Commissioner Nielson talking about legal problems and complications. Could the Commission and the Council give us a timetable for committing this money and solving the European Union's formal problems with northern Cyprus? The Government of the Republic of Cyprus has a problem with the implementation of the law governing the European elections in Cyprus. In order to be able to vote, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Latin Maronites and Armenians have to be registered on the electoral roll for the European elections. Unfortunately, the Cypriot Parliament took a decision requiring all Cypriots to register themselves on the electoral roll. As a result of this procedure, only 503 out of an estimated 80 000 Turkish Cypriots are eligible to vote. This is too few. If the Cypriot Parliament decided to include on the electoral roll all persons who have either an ID card or a passport issued by the Republic of Cyprus, 40 000 Turkish Cypriots could vote. I have two requests to the Government of Cyprus. Firstly, people from both communities who are in possession of an ID card or a passport from the Republic of Cyprus should automatically be entitled to vote. Secondly, the Government of Cyprus should re-open the electoral roll over the next three weeks and make a public announcement in both communities and in both languages to ensure that those able to vote in the European elections do so."@en1

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