Friday, 13 November 2009

An Interesting EU Conundrum

A report in the Open Europe press summary today caught my eye relating to an ECJ President who has been accused of bias in a judgement on a British couple’s property case.

"PA reports that the UK’s Court of Appeal has been asked to consider whether the President of the European Court of Justice, Vassilios Skouris, was biased when he ruled in a land dispute which affects thousands of holiday home owners in Northern Cyprus. The article notes that Skouris headed a panel of EU judges which ruled that the British courts must enforce the decision of a southern Cyprus court upholding the property rights of a man forced to leave his land when Turkey invaded the north of the island. The ECJ ruling would mean that British couple David and Linda Orams would have to demolish their home in northern Cyprus on which they had spent their life's savings and pay damages to the original land owner, Meletios Apostolides. However, it was alleged at the Court of Appeal that Judge Skouris had close links with the President of Cyprus, who had bestowed the island's highest honour on him, and this may have coloured his judgement."

The case of Cyprus is an extremely interesting aspect when considering whether Turkey will be admitted to the European Union. At the time of Turkey's intervention in Cyprus at the affront - as they considered it - of the Greek governments treatment of Turkish Cypriots, the undertaking was given by Turkey that they would never leave Northern Cyprus and to this day retain garrisons of troops in the northern part of the island; . At the time of my visit to Northern Cyprus two years ago - and to my knowledge not much has changed - whilst the two sides were living 'side by side' fairly amicably, although there were customs restrictions on what could be taken in and out of both sides, resentment was still felt by the Greeks at what they considered theft of properties and land held prior to the division of the island. It was a regular occurence for Greeks to arrive at a property laying claim to that property or land.
Reverting to the Press Association report quoted by Open Europe, we have the European Court of Justice making a ruling on land held in a country that is not a member of the European Union and therefore not subject to its rulings. And British courts must enforce a ruling likewise in a land in which they too do not have judrisdiction.

WTF! Or am I missing something here?

Footnote: For an unbiased account of the Greece/Turkey 'troubles' in Cyprus, one could not do better than to obtain and read a copy of The Genocide Files by Harry Scott Gibbons - a journalist for the Daily Express who covered events - pubished by Near East Publishing 73 Bedreddin Demirel Avenue, Lefkosa Mersi 10 Turkey.

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