The Green Line Regulation
The whole of Cyprus is part of the European Union. However, in the northern part of the island, where the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control, EU legislation is suspended in line with Protocol 10 to the 2003 Act of Accession.
Since 1974 the ceasefire line (referred to as the "Green Line") has separated the two parts of the island. The line is not an external border of the EU. Council Regulation 866/2004 ("Green Line Regulation") sets out the terms under which persons and goods can cross this line from the non-government-controlled areas into the government-controlled areas.
The non-government-controlled areas are outside the EU's customs and fiscal territory – but this does not affect the personal rights of Turkish Cypriots as EU citizens.
Χαλλούμι / Halloumi / Hellim
On 12 April 2021, the Commission adopted an Implementing Regulation that registers Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim as a Protected Designation of Origin. From 1 October 2021, only Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim made by cheesemakers in the island of Cyprus and which conforms to the requirements of the product specification of the PDO Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim can be marketed in the European Union. Under the Regulation, cheesemakers resident anywhere in Cyprus have the right to have their product inspected to verify whether it meets the PDO requirements.
On the same day, the Commission adopted an amendment to Commission Decision 2007/330 concerning trade across the Green Line. This Decision lifts the prohibition on trade in Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim produced in the Turkish Cypriot community across the Green Line, provided that the cheese meets all health and sanitary standards set out in the Decision. A system will be established to inspect farms and dairies in the Turkish Cypriot community to verify whether they comply with these standards and to issue certificates to compliant producers.
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The European Commission has established an informal working group on Halloumi/Hellim. The group shall bring about an exchange of information as well as the sharing of experience and good practices among stakeholders relating to their participation in the PDO scheme for Halloumi/Hellim and will review the functioning of the inspection system for Halloumi/Hellim. The group shall be composed of up to ten members of whom an equal number shall be drawn from the Greek Cypriot community and from the Turkish Cypriot community. Members shall be individuals appointed to represent a common interest, such as representatives of Chambers of Commerce, representatives of farmers’ organisations or representatives of dairies involved in the production of Halloumi/Hellim, representatives of relevant professional interests and representatives of civil society organisations. The group will meet periodically.
The first meeting of the Commission Informal Working Group on Halloumi/Hellim was held on 23 September 2022.
Trade in fresh fish
Under Commission Decision 2007/330, independent experts appointed by the Commission conduct regular inspections of fishing vessels in the Turkish Cypriot community to ascertain whether these vessels comply with EU standards. Fishing vessels which are compliant are authorised to trade their catches across the Green Line.
The list of vessels that are currently authorised to engage in Green Line trade can be found below:
Bringing Cypriot communities closer together
To pave the way for reunification, EU support aims to bring the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities closer together.
One of the fundamental principles of the EU project is the free movement of people, goods and services across its Member States. As such, the EU set out the rules under which people, goods and services can cross the Green Line in 2004. Have a look at the booklets below to read more about how the Green Line Regulation facilitates people-to-people contact and trade in Cyprus.