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What level of preparations has been undertaken for holding the Presidency?
Preparations are well underway – the first steps were taken in 2009 – and I amconfident that Cyprus will stand ready to take over the helm from Denmark thisJuly. The preparations have been multifaceted, as they took place at differentlevels, namely political, administrative, technical and logistical.
Firstly, in order to undertake this challenging task, a new political and administrative structure has been in place and took its final shape in October 2011 so as to guarantee the smooth coordination of the preparations for and the management of the Presidency, as well as effective and swift decision-making. Those include the establishment of a Ministerial Committee for European Affairs, the creation of the post of Deputy Minister to the President for European Affairs, as well as the Cyprus EU Presidency Secretariat, whose main task is to ensure the overall effective coordination of preparations.
As it has been decided that the Cyprus Presidency will be Brussels-based, the role of the Permanent Representation of Cyprus in Brussels is crucial, as the majority of the chairpersons have been placed in Brussels, at the heart of the law and policy-making. A meticulously developed training strategy offered specialised training to all parties involved.
The successful completion of the 18 month Programme with Cyprus’ Trio partners, Poland and Denmark and its approval by the Council in June 2011, was the first major undertaking in the policy preparations. Currently, the six month programme of the Presidency is being drafted, through an ongoing, interactive process between the Cyprus EU Presidency Secretariat, the Ministries, as well as the EU institutions. The priorities, as well the strategic management of the dossiers, has been defined and are going to be updated until the last minute in order to take into account any latest developments.
Last, but not least, the greater part of logistical preparations has been completed, so as to accommodate for the fifteen Informal Council meetings and about 180 meetings that will take place in Cyprus. The Conference Centre “Filoxenia” in Nicosia has been renovated, so as to host the majority of meetings that will take place in Cyprus and the planning for accommodation, transport, security, interpretation, gifts and other logistics has been completed.
Andreas Mavroyiannis, Deputy Minister to the President of the Republic of Cyprus for European Affairs, talks to Marcus Papadopoulos about the impending Cyprus EU Presidency.