On the edge of good neighbourliness in EU law: lessons from Cyprus

Laulhe-Shaelou, Stephanie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3221-5116 (2015) On the edge of good neighbourliness in EU law: lessons from Cyprus. In: The principle of good neighbourly relations in the European legal context. Series on EU External Relations (SEUR) . Brill, Leiden, pp. 135-157. ISBN 9789004299771

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Article 8 of the Treaty of the European Union (TEU) sets out a duty for the Union to develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries based inter alia on the good neighbourliness principle, on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful cooperation. This is proposed to be achieved through the conclusion of ‘specific agreements with the countries concerned’, possibly based on reciprocity of rights and obligations and/or joined activities. As evidenced by the various contributions in the present volume, many questions spring to mind when reading this new provision, regarding its raison d’être, its scope and its implications within the framework of the EU Treaties and the wider good neighbourliness principle deriving from international law. The role of Member States vis-à-vis the Union’s neighbours has been outlined in this volume in various contexts, and the Member States’ own commitment towards good neighbourliness within the EU. As rightly pointed out by another contributor to this volume in the context of the EU enlargement policy, ‘[d]epending upon the involvement of EU Member States and the risks for the importation of regional disputes into the EU’s internal structures, the requirement of good neighbourliness is either translated into an obligation of conduct or an obligation of result’, thereby revealing the changing or flexible nature of good neighbourliness. To determine the scope of good neighbourliness in the EU legal order, as enshrined in particular in Article 8 TEU, and delimit any underlying commitment on the part of Member States, there is arguably a need to examine the ‘micro’ or individual relations a Member State maintains with its own neighbours. Such a micro-analysis of essentially bilateral relations should also permit reflections on the question of reciprocity and ‘sharing of values’ underlying good neighbourliness in a given relationship or set of relations. In this context, Cyprus is believed to be a unique case study, arguably standing both geographically and substantively at the ‘edge’ of good neighbourliness and as such, outlining the flexible nature of good neighbourliness through its atypical or ‘outer’ application in EU law. The micro-analysis in the case of Cyprus would focus on the ‘de facto neighbouring’ relations the Republic of Cyprus maintains with the part of its own sovereign territory under Turkish military control (internal relations) and, as a result, on the rather uneasy relations Cyprus maintains with Turkey as its neighbour, at the Union’s door-step and also as a candidate country currently undergoing the accession negotiation process (external relations).
This chapter therefore proposes to deepen our understanding of the good neighbourliness principle in EU law, as enshrined in Article 8 TEU and within the overall fabric of the EU Treaties, from the perspective of the Member States – more specifically of a single one, Cyprus – in an attempt to identify some of the outer limits of good neighbourliness. This will be done through a review of the scope of Article 8 TEU, including from the perspective of a single Member State (2), followed by an analysis of the outward application of good neighbourliness in the context of Cyprus ‘from within’ the EU (3) and finally ‘from outside’ the EU, also from the lens of reciprocity and shared values arguably lying at the core of good neighbourliness (4). The lessons to be learnt from Cyprus will relate to the scope of good neighbourliness in the EU legal order and to the specific forms it may take when considering the troubled relations of a single Member State with its ‘neighbours’. Good neighbourliness may be more ‘demanding’ on a specific Member State in a situation internal to the EU, but there may be counterparts in this case. This chapter will also assess the extent to which uneasy bilateral relations between a Member State and a third country can be efficiently addressed through EU external relations, the form this good neighbourliness will take and the legal and political implications it may have on other EU Member States, the third country concerned and the values of the Union.

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