Cyprus as an European Member
“Cyprus’ geographical position is a key point to three continents, and
therefore, an ideal centre for international business.”
Cyprus, the third largest island in the
Mediterranean Sea, lies at the crossroad of Europe, Africa, and Asia. In
addition, Cyprus is close to the busy shipping and air routes linking Europe
with the Arab World and the Far East, representing a strategic hub for business
activities in the region.
Its total area is 9.251 sq. km (3.572 sq. miles), comparable in size to that
of Lebanon, Puerto Rico, Connecticut in the USA, the Land of Hessen in Germany,
and Dordogne in France.
The island is two hours ahead of Greenwich meantime, seven hours ahead of New
York, seven hours behind Tokyo, and in the same time zone as Athens.
Cyprus has a pleasant climate with dry summers
and mild winters, enjoying about 300 days of sunshine. The rainy season is
confined to the period between November and March. In January, the coldest
month, minimum and maximum mean temperatures are 6°C and 13°C respectively,
while in August, the hottest month, the corresponding minimum and maximum
temperatures are 21°C and 36°C.
Cyprus, according to Mythology, is the birthplace
of the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. The island is both an
ancient land, with eleven thousand years of history and a young independent
republic since 1960. Its strategic location, positioned in the northeastern
corner of the Mediterranean and at the meeting point of great civilizations, has
been one of the critical factors influencing the course of the island’s history
throughout the centuries.
The estimated total
population of Cyprus is 818.200 based on the 2001 census of population, out of
which 79,1% belong to the Greek Cypriot community, 10,7% to the Turkish Cypriot
community and 10,2% are foreigners residing in Cyprus. The official languages of
the Cyprus Republic are Greek and Turkish. In addition, English is widely spoken
and extensively used in commerce and Government.
Full time education is
compulsory for all children from the age of 5 years. The 12-year span of
education consists of six years elementary education and six years of secondary
education. In addition to state schools, there are private fee-paying schools in
all towns, whose basic teaching language is English. Cyprus offers a
distinguished University as well as a number of private institutions of higher
Cyprus ranks among the first countries in the world in terms of University
degree holders in relation to the population, with 70% of secondary school
graduates in 2000, proceeding to Tertiary education. More than half of secondary
education graduates study abroad, mainly in Greece (53%), the UK (23%), and the
Cyprus is well-served
by sea, air and telecommunications connectivity. Due to its advanced
telecommunications network and the superb regional and global connectivity on
offer, the island is considered as one of the most important telecommunication
hubs in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East region. This is also
enhanced by an extensive submarine fibre optic cable network, and access to
major satellite systems.
In addition, Cyprus’ role as a regional commercial and business centre,
coupled with the increasing tourist traffic, has led to the development of a
wide network of air routes offering excellent connections with Europe, Africa
and Asia. The country’s two international airports are situated near Larnaca and
The multi-purpose ports of Limassol and Larnaca are the country’s main sea
gateways for seaborne cargo and passenger traffic. Both ports have turned into
important regional warehouse and distribution centres. Finally, the island has
developed an advanced road system with 4 lane highways linking all central
destinations. Indicatively, the motorway density ratio of Cyprus is 28,6km
/1.000km2 (2001 figures), while the corresponding average ratio of the European
Union for the same year was 14,3km /1.000km2.
Cyprus became an independent Republic in 1960, adopting
a governmental structure modeled on Western democracies. The Head of State is
the President of the Republic, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year
term of office. The council of Ministers, appointed by the President,
constitutes the main executive body of the Republic.
Legislative power rests with the House of Representatives, elected for a five
year term. A multi-party system is in operation, while the electoral system is
based on proportional representation. Cyprus has an efficient civil service,
with highly trained personnel, a considerable percentage of which holds academic
Cyprus is a
member of the European Union, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the
World Trade Organizations, the Commonwealth, the World Bank, and the
International Monetary Fund.
Cyprus is represented through diplomatic missions in over 30 countries.
Moreover, Cyprus has particularly good relations with the Mediterranean
countries, the Middle East Region, as well as other developing countries.
“Cyprus ranks among the first countries in the world in terms of
University degree holders, with 70% of secondary school graduates proceeding to
Cyprus as an European