Green Line Trade: A Path to Economic Unity and Reunification

Elisa Ferreira - EU Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner
[Elisa Ferreira – EU Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner]
Since 2004, the value of trade across the Green Line has reached a cumulative total of 106 million Euros, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said, Yeniduzen reports.

In Ferreira’s response to a series of written questions put to her by Yeniduzen, marking the 20th anniversary of the Green Line Regulation, she noted that the trade volume, which was 6.2 million Euros in 2021, surged to an unprecedented 16 million Euros in 2023.

In her first interview with the Turkish Cypriot media, published by Yeniduzen, Ferreira expressed her satisfaction with the nearly threefold increase in trade volume. She emphasised that everyone has a role to play in further enhancing Green Line trade.

Ferreira affirmed that the regulation remains highly relevant and necessary. She stated, “I want to see Green Line trade realise its full potential. Achieving this will foster reconciliation. Hence, I urge all Cypriots—whether they are producers, traders, policymakers, or opinion

leaders—to explore and leverage the opportunities provided by Green Line trade and to contribute actively to its enhancement“.

Ferreira also underscored that Green Line trade is economically logical and functions as a significant confidence-building measure. She reiterated the EU’s steadfast commitment to finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue within the framework of the United Nations.

Green Line Regulation Could Become Obsolete

Ferreira voiced her hope that one day the Green Line Regulation will become obsolete, indicating the resolution of the Cyprus problem and the island’s reunification.

She further noted that with the reunification of Cyprus and the implementation of EU legislation across the entire island, economic disparities between the north and south can be addressed using EU cohesion funds. Ferreira expressed her belief that reunification would offer significant benefits to both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, affirming that this represents the most promising future.

20th Anniversary of Green Line Regulation

Ferreira said:  “As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Green Line Regulation, it’s important to recognise its significant impact on Cyprus. The regulation, established by the EU, has facilitated the movement of people, goods, and services across the Green Line, thereby fostering improved relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. This was crucial as EU legislation is suspended in the Turkish Cypriot community while being enforced in areas controlled by the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member.

“Since its inception in 2004, Green Line Trade, which involves the sale of Turkish Cypriot goods to the EU market, has amounted to a total of 106 million Euros. The remarkable increase in trade volume from 6.2 million Euros in 2021 to a record high of 16 million Euros in 2023, nearly tripling, is indeed gratifying. The efforts of the European Commission have played a significant role in fostering this growth. However, there is still untapped potential for further expansion of trade, and collective efforts are needed to realise this potential.

“ Initiating a substantial boost for Turkish Cypriot SMEs and start-ups venturing into or expanding their Green Line trade, the Commission has unveiled a support programme totaling 4 million Euros. Under this initiative, businesses will gain access to grants tailored for various purposes, ranging from acquiring new equipment and machinery to receiving consultancy services on navigating EU product standards compliance. Moreover, the programme extends its financial support towards fostering digitalisation and innovation within these enterprises, ultimately bolstering their sustainability and competitive edge in production. Beyond mere financial backing, the program sets its sights on cultivating an environment conducive to Green Line trade.

“Turkish Cypriot companies engaged in Green Line commerce reap the benefits of a broader market reach, provided their products meet stringent EU standards. Concurrently, Greek Cypriot consumers enjoy an expanded array of EU-compliant and safe products.

“Green Line trade, presently constituting about 10% of Turkish Cypriot communities’ sales, stands as a cornerstone of economic activity. Beyond its economic ramifications, Green Line trade functions as a vital instrument for building confidence, fostering trust among individuals and businesses alike through their interactions.

“Since its inception in 2004, the Green Line Regulation has facilitated over 64 million crossings, marking a significant milestone for both Cypriot locals and international visitors. Today, traversing the Green Line has become a routine affair, serving as a conduit for everyday activities such as shopping, dining, business meetings, and leisurely visits. In this way, Cypriots forge inter-community connections, expanding and deepening bonds between diverse communities”, Ferreira stated.

Yeniduzen

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