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Situated in the north-eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea and to the south of Turkey, Cyprus is the largest island in the eastern Mediterranean as well as being the third smallest country in the EU, after Malta and Luxembourg. Cyprus joined the EU as a de facto divided island but the whole of Cyprus is EU territory. Turkish Cypriots are EU citizens as they are citizens of an EU country - the Republic of Cyprus - even if they live in a part of Cyprus not under government control.
The most important sectors of Cyprus’s economy in 2012 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (23.5 %) public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (21.8 %) and real estate (11.5 %).
Cyprus’s main export partners are Greece, the UK and the US, while its main import partners are Greece, Israel and the UK.
Geographical size: 9251.0 km²
Population: 862 011 (2012)
Population as % of total EU population: 0.2 % (2012)
GDP: € 17.72 billion (2012)
Official EU language(s): Greek
Political system: presidential republic
EU member country since: 1 May 2004
Seats in the European Parliament: 6
Currency: Eurozone member since 1 January 2008
Passport-free travel? No, Cyprus is not a member a member of the Schengen Area.
Presidency of the Council: Cyprus has held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU once, in 2012.
In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Cypriot government, depending on the policy area being addressed.
The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.
During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.
Dates of Cypriot presidencies:
More on the current presidency of the Council of the EU.
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
Commission representation in Cyprus
Cyprus has 6 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.
Cyprus has 6 representatives on the Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.
Cyprus also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Cyprus' "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.
Member countries' financial contributions to the EU budget are shared fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa. The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole.
Breakdown of Cyprus's finances with the EU in 2012:
More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
The money paid into the EU budget by Cyprus helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.
Find out more about how Cyprus benefits from EU funding.