The go-ahead has been given to Cyprus’ Deputy Shipping Minister Natasa Pilides to study ways a former ferry link in between Greece and Cyprus can be relaunched.
At a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Ms. Pilides said that the possibility of connecting the two EU countries with a passenger ferry link would be beneficial for people who are afraid to fly, as well as for the further development of tourism on Cyprus. Ms. Pilides had this to say:
“Therefore, a study will be undertaken to identify the best way to cover the funding gap likely to be created with such a link. It will be examined by the Council of Ministers and then a formal request will be submitted to the European Commission for the relative funding.”
The minister stressed that this will be a long process since it will have to be looked into by the European Union.
Resumption of the ferry service was put back on the agenda after DISY MPs Nicos Tornaritis and Annita Demetriou tabled the matter for discussion in parliament so that the governments of Cyprus and Greece would consider reviving the sea link. They argued that the link would create new prospects for development and trade.
Despite the positive nature of the announcement, most experts think this initiative will sink as fast as past efforts. However, this time supporters stress the EU’s role and the necessity for doing all that is necessary to reestablish the link. The argument is that the union is about the free movement of people and of commerce
Detractors point out that such a ferry service would lose about €5 million annually, red line the EU would certainly have to subsidize.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has taken it upon himself to be the ferry route’s main cheerleader. The Cypriot leader is backing efforts by two DISY MPs to reinstate a commercial ferry link between Cyprus and Greece that was discontinued 18 years ago.