Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Patrick R. Hugg

First Page



In December 2000 the European Council Summit in Nice fulfilled the promise for European Union enlargement made at the Helsinki Summit the year before. The leaders of the EU Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the accession of the applicant countries, making possible the broad re-unification of the continent under democratic rule of law and free market economies. This Article focuses specifically on the accession of the island of Cyprus, Europe's remaining divided state, poised strategically between East and West. The island's armed stand-off presents the clearest example of legal conflict between two ethnic communities in a discrete geographical territory, magnifying the multilayered cultural and religious divisions of the region. The Article traces the centuries of conflict on the island, then explores the dramatic breakthroughs of the 1999 Helsinki Summit and the recent rapprochement of Cyprus' patron states of Greece and Turkey, culminating with the advance of the 2000 Nice Summit. The Article argues that EU leaders should seize this opportunity to use EU enlargement to lead the two communities into a functional plan for a bicommunal structure and process of cooperation that can build toward an evolving, long-term resolution of this ancient conflict.