In his statements, Schulz noted that it was the first time he participated in such a direct dialogue with young people.
During the discussion, he referred to his own experience as a German citizen who lived the reunification of his country. He was 35 years old when Germany was reunited and now nobody remembers how it was before, he said. The EU today is not completed because a part of Cyprus should become a member of the Union and “only then we can say that all Europeans we are together,” he added.
Schulz pledged that he will do anything in his power to help end the war in Syria and noted that the migration crisis and the accession process of Turkey should be regarded as separate issues.
Asked about the unemployment among young people in a Europe that also faces repeated terror attacks, refugee inflows, and many other problems, as well as, if this is the EU he envisioned and “will inherited to us,” Schulz replied “of course not. Definitely no.” In the EU he envisioned and envisions there is no place for youth unemployment and terrorism, he said and added that the ideal for him is the coexistence and cooperation of nations and peoples, where mutual respect prevails. “Youth unemployment is a scandal against which I fight.”
Europe is the richest continent in the world, but the wealth is not equally distributed either between regions or among the people of the continent, he said. In some countries unemployment exceeds 50 per cent and this is devastating, he added.
Replying to another question on racism, Schulz said that racism in Europe must be fought and no one should be master or servant. “We may not be all the same, but we should all be equal,” he noted.
Asked about the positions of the Turkish Cypriot side for permanent derogation of the acquis communataire and to make any agreement reached in Cyprus a primary law of the EU and the EP’s position regarding these issues, Schulz said he is in Cyprus to listen and not to lecture. “Definitely there will be a solution, but I cannot suggest the type of the solution,” he added.
Invited to comment on the accession of Turkey to the EU, the EP President said that Turkey’s accession negotiations have lasted for a few decades and they will continue for some time more, while there are many countries that do not want the country to join the Union. “Turkey cannot hold you hostage, Turkey cannot hold anyone hostage,” he said. Any violation reported (of EEZ) is not something that can be accepted, he added.
Asked about President Anastasiades’ letter to the EU requesting that Turkish language becomes an official EU language, Martin Schulz said that this is an important, symbolic and courageous act showing the intention and will of the President Anastasiades for the solution of the Cyprus problem, noting that he had begun to learn Turkish. “My name is Martin. I am German,” he said in Turkish. If we have a united, federal Cyprus then Turkish should be an EU official language, he said.
Answering a question about the continuation of Turkish guarantees, Schulz said that when Cyprus will be reunited there will be one country and it will be its duty to protect its citizens. Asked about what will the EU do if there is no solution, the EP President said that it is better to reach a solution and reiterated his position that there is now an historic opportunity which must be seized.
Asked by a participant to offer advice based on his own experience and knowledge to young people on how to rebuild long-term relations between the two communities in order to make the right steps to solve the Cyprus problem, Schulz said: “fall in love as much as possible with each other at both sides. I think love is the best way to get to know each other”. Young people of 17 and 18 years-old, who do not have the experiences of separation as the older generations, can move on without prejudice he said referring to cultural, social and other exchanges.
Asked whether there would be a financial assistance from the EU in a case a solution is reached, the EP President said that it is clear that the project (of the reunification) would be expensive.
The EU will support both financially and politically a united Cyprus, Schulz said to an 18-year-old participant in the discussion who said that he is a refugee and would like to return to Famagusta.
“How you will return to your hometown that is an issue that should be answered through negotiations,” he noted, adding that the EU is obliged to provide the financial support that the country needs.