Page last updated at 10:04 GMT, Tuesday, 15 January 2013

MEPs assess achievements of Cyprus EU presidency

The President of Cyprus, Dimitris Christofias, has said his country's presidency of the EU achieved "significant results and targets", but urged the Commission to build a "social Europe".

In a debate with MEPs on 15 January 2013 to review the six-month presidency that finished at the end of 2012, he pointed to the deal to set up a banking supervisor, further agreement on establishing a common asylum policy and the deal on a unified European patent system.

Cyprus held the presidency at a time of rising unemployment in the eurozone, and a lack of agreement over the EU's long-term budget.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the recent budget discussions were "the most difficult and complex ever".

British Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson said he hoped that holding the EU presidency will "inspire domestic reforms to make [Cyprus] a functioning democracy".

He said he "regretted" that progress had not been made on Cypriot issues such as "reform of land laws and establishment of a banking ombudsman".

A separate debate on the priorities of the incoming Irish presidency will be held the next day, 16 January 2013.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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