EU accession dynamics and conflict resolution : the case of Cyprus, 1988-2002
Since 1993, the European Commission, the EU member states and the Republic of Cyprus raised the expectation that the prospect of Cyprus' EU membership would act as a catalyst for a settlement of the island's conflict. Yet throughout the 1990s the divisions between the positions of the principal parties widened. In addition, the 1990s witnessed an escalation of tensions in the Easter Mediterranean, between Greece and Turkey, as well as between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The 2002 negotiations failed to deliver an agreement, bringing closer the prospect of an unintended consolidation of the green line dividing the island. This study analyses the case of Cyprus and the EU with three objectives in mind. First, it explores the inter-relationship between the evolution of the conflict and the development of EU-Cyprus relations within the accession process. Why did the EU accession process fail to catalyse a settlement on the island, or at least a rapprochement between the conflicting parties. Second, it explains the factors driving the conduct of EU policies towards the conflict. Finally, this study seeks to show that the European Union framework could have added important incentives for a settlement and resolution of the conflict by providing an alternative context within which to address the basic needs of the principal parties. The case of Cyprus casts a different light on the problems involved in mobilising the EU's multi-level framework of governance in the field of external relations, particularly in situations of active or latent crisis, typical of ethno-political conflicts.