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Cyprus: halloumi diplomacy / Cyprus / Domains / Dwelling web page

“Halloumi” Cheese – © Candy Marshmallow/Shutterstock


In Cyprus, cooperating past the borders that separate Greeks and Turks is at all times difficult. Nevertheless, thanks additionally to the intervention of the EU, halloumi cheese – one of many symbols of the island – is as soon as once more a heritage shared by each communities.

“The mountains of Kerynia had been burning for days! God forbid, we may see the smoke on our aspect. British and Israeli forces tried to assist, however to no avail. The raging wind would make that not possible. After which, when the Greek forces entered the battle for assist, oh, all of the sudden, pouring rain fell from above, quenching the forest fireplace that had destroyed 1000’s of acres. Is not it a miracle? Who would count on such rain within the coronary heart of summer time? Is not this God’s manner of telling us that we should always put apart our variations and be taught to assist one another? »

Saved by the need to cooperate

That morning in early July, Eleni Nikolaou vividly instructed the story to the younger girl who strolled via her memento store in central Limassol, gazing on the little trinkets that vacationers normally purchase, similar to a tiny statue of the goddess Aphrodite or an eye-shaped fortunate allure to guard in opposition to the evil eye. The place to begin for the dialogue had been the stifling warmth on the island which had began in June and would proceed till September, like all different summers in Cyprus. This time there have been no casualties, not like final July, when a forest fireplace that broke out outdoors Limassol destroyed 50 properties and claimed the lives of 4 Egyptian farm employees. It had been described by the media because the island’s worst fireplace in many years.

This 12 months, nevertheless, “God spared the Cypriots”, as Eleni stated. The twenty secondn/a of June 2022, a forest fireplace had damaged out within the Kantara area of the Kyrenia mountain vary within the small breakaway Turkish Cypriot state of Northern Cyprus. The hearth is alleged to have been brought on by a brief circuit on an agricultural automobile: fanned by violent winds, the flames had unfold quickly, resulting in the preventive evacuation of the villages.

Within the midst of this emergency and below the supervision of the United Nations peacekeeping drive, which was the one which despatched to the Republic of Cyprus a name for assist from the North, fight planes fires from either side of divided Cyprus had entered the battle, joined by Israelis and British forces. Coordinated efforts had managed to partially convey the blaze below management by Friday afternoon, however then the winds modified path, reigniting the blaze.

Based on native studies, at the moment the Turkish Cypriot authorities refused any additional help from the Cypriot authorities planes, which had remained on standby. To stop worse issues from taking place, Greek Cypriot forces ready to affix, solely to learn by the opposite aspect {that a} heavy rain that hit that a part of the island in a single day had lastly extinguished fireplace.

Eleni known as it “divine intervention”. She wasn’t the one one. The “miraculous” salvation of the mountains of Kerynia turned the discuss of the city for the subsequent few weeks. Taxi drivers and retail distributors have in all probability completed probably the most to unfold the phrase. Regardless of the totally different variations circulating, the morale can be the identical: the Cypriots had been rewarded for his or her willingness to cooperate.

A month later, the EU, like one other Deus Ex machinewould endorse a major bundle of measures to assist improved bi-communal relations.

Particularly, on Monday July 25, 2022, the European Fee introduced the adoption of an annual program of help to the Turkish Cypriot neighborhood value 33.43 million euros. Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform, stated “the brand new set of initiatives goals to assist financial improvement, reconciliation and confidence-building measures”.

This improvement follows the registration by the Fee of Halloumi/Hellim as a Protected Designation of Origin (AOP). in April 2021, a choice that had been hailed by each communities as an act that protects the product title from imitation and misuse throughout the EU and may convey financial advantages to the complete island of Cyprus.

From bone of competition to image of unity

Earlier than its registration by the Fee as a PDO, halloumi had been a bone of competition inside the Greek and Turkish neighborhood in Cyprus for years. Identical to different merchandise claimed by each (for instance, sTheutzoukos/sausage shut), either side disagreed on the “ethnicity” of this specific kind of cheese.

Clearly, the explanations for this disagreement weren’t solely cultural, however very financial. Financially, the Greek a part of Cyprus held a monopoly on the very profitable haloumi firms, making good use of entry to the EU market.

Based on EU information, in 2019 alone, southern Cyprus exported 33,000 tonnes of halloumi to the remainder of the EU. Admittedly, these figures will probably be affected by Brexit, on condition that the UK, a former colonial energy in Cyprus and nation of the so-called “Charlies”, British residents of Cypriot origin, was by far the biggest shopper of halloumi within the EU. Based on figures printed within the Monetary Instances (16.04.2021), “in 2019, the UK’s final full 12 months of EU membership, the nation accounted for 53% of all Cypriot cheese bloc imports by quantity “.

Polemic ‘halloumi diplomacy’

When the Fee determined to assist the northern a part of Cyprus by liberating up the potential for doing enterprise inside the bloc, Greek Cypriot producers initially noticed the choice as a risk to their very own enterprise. The EU responded by sharing statistics displaying that the worldwide market is giant sufficient to soak up manufacturing from the northern and southern elements of the island.

As well as, with its present assist programme, the Fee is contemplating measures to assist Turkish Cypriots specifically to satisfy EU meals security and hygiene requirements, in addition to dairy farms and yield high quality dairy. These efforts appease older Greek Cypriot claims that halloumi produced by Turkish Cypriot producers might be of decrease high quality, which might hurt the general popularity of the product.

The Turkish aspect additionally expressed its personal considerations. Opening up the market would virtually imply that northern Cyprus, which doesn’t acknowledge the EU membership the island gained in 2004, would now have to just accept the authority of the Cypriot authorities and the EU. Northern Cyprus International Minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu had outlined this as “a shameful try by the EU and the Greek Cypriot administration to dominate the political will of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”. On the identical time, northern Cypriot producers ought to submit to personal inspections and make further efforts to adjust to EU requirements.

Commerce apart, by way of symbolism and connotation, the EU is betting that, as apparent as it could appear, halloumi/halloumi cheese is a superb paradigm of shared cultural apply that belongs to each communities and goes past ethnicity or faith. Halloumi is neither Greek nor Turkish, it’s purely Cypriot and subsequently serves as a token of shared id, simply understood and adopted by all.

Cypriot International Minister Nikos Christodoulides stated the event was of “nice significance” and will promote reconciliation on the island by sending “a transparent message” in that path.

Strengthening bicommunal relations by constructing bridges of belief between the Turkish and Greek communities of Cyprus is outwardly a precedence for the European Fee, which has brazenly expressed its intention to facilitate and in the end obtain the reunification of the island. On this context, the EU assist program foresees the continued beneficiant funding of the Committee on Lacking Individuals and the Cultural Heritage Technical Committee.

Lastly, the annual program consists of measures in step with the European Inexperienced Deal priorities, via which it goals to stimulate employment and inexperienced innovation on the island.

This content material is printed as a part of the “Work4Future” challenge co-funded by the European Union (EU). The EU is by no means chargeable for the knowledge or opinions expressed inside the framework of the challenge. Duty for the content material rests solely with OBC Transeuropa. Go to “Work4Future”

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