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[Check Against Delivery]
European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy
Benefits for the environment and human health of both communities
Opening of the new Nicosia Wastewater Treatment Plant
Nicosia, 8 April 2014
Dear Constantinos, dear Kadri, Excellencies, honourable guests, ladies and gentlemen - kalimera, iyi günler!
I am honoured to be here today to mark the opening of the new Nicosia wastewater treatment plant and to witness the fulfilment of this very significant bi-communal venture.
I am told that this is the biggest wastewater treatment plant on the whole island, incorporating the latest technology in the field.
This in itself is a major achievement but it is about much more than this.
First, local leaders of the two communities have succeeded in putting the needs of the population first to solve the sewage problems of the Greater Nicosia Area. I strongly commend their commitment. Faced with the alternative of going their separate ways, they have worked relentlessly for over a decade to pursue this new project for the common treatment of Nicosia's wastewater.
Second, I am glad that the European Commission has actively supported this project from its very inception by fully financing the design of the new plant and 30% of its construction.
Third, this new plant benefits the environment as well as human health by protecting drinking and bathing waters from contamination. On top of that, its 'state of the art' technology will give 10 million cubic meters of treated water per year a second life through irrigation. This can promote economic activity to the benefit of all.
Side-products of the waste water treatment can be converted into renewable energy and fertilizers, thus substantially reducing its environmental footprint.
Fourth, it is great to see that the full benefits of this plant are being reaped thanks to continuing bi-communal cooperation. I'm pleased that the European Commission is also providing support for the design of the new phase to enable full reuse of the treated wastewater.
This project demonstrates how joint, consensual decisions can take shape and work to the benefit of both communities.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all the people who have played an important part in this project. For some of you it's a life's work, and this plant might not have been built if it wasn't for your persistence. You played a crucial role and worked relentlessly for the benefit of both communities.
Let me also thank the United Nations Development Programme for their work in helping the two communities in realising their dream of a new bi-communal plant for Nicosia. The new plant demonstrates once more the long-standing and fruitful cooperation between the Commission and the UNDP.
Allow me to conclude by thanking in particular Constantinos and Kadri and their predecessors as local leaders of Nicosia, many of whom are here today, for their leadership and unwavering commitment to cooperation.
You are an inspiring example for others of what can be achieved when you accept today's challenges and transform them into opportunities and practical solutions.
Thank you for your attention - efcharistó parapolí - teşekkür ederiz.