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Cyprus

Flag of Cyprus

Cyprus country brief

An EU country with similar values and deep historical roots through Cypriot immigration to Australia.

Key engagement

The Australia-Cyprus relationship is founded on shared values and underpinned by a common UK institutional inheritance, Commonwealth membership, and Australia's long-standing support for UN efforts to find a just and permanent solution to the Cyprus issue.

Australia and Cyprus established diplomatic relations in 1973.

Outlook

Cyprus' climate and rainfall are similar to South Australia's, providing opportunities for Australia to cooperate on water, renewable energy and agriculture.

Bilateral relations

The strength of the bilateral relationship between Australia and Cyprus stems from the ties developed by Cypriot migration to Australia. Australia hosts the second largest Cypriot diaspora after the UK.

Educational and cultural links in archaeology remain strong. Australian academics have been working in Cyprus since the 1930s. The Chau Chak Wing Museum and Melbourne's Ian Potter Museum of Art house some of the most extensive archaeological collections outside Cyprus. Scientific and academic links between CSIRO/Australian universities and their Cypriot counterparts are ongoing. Research topics have included road accident, solar-thermal energy, and water treatment and semi- arid agriculture.

Foreign policy

Cyprus’ foreign policy is focused on the enhancement of relations with countries in its region, an active role in the European Union (EU), and multilateral engagement including with the United Nations (UN).

Cyprus joined the Commonwealth in 1961 and became a member of the United Nations in 1960. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004 and joined the Eurozone in 2008. Cyprus held the presidency of the EU Council in 2012.

Cyprus is the only EU member not a member of NATO or its Alliance Partnership for Peace Program.

Fast Facts

  • Cypriot visitors to Australia (Year ended June 2020) – 1,800
  • Australian resident returns from Cyprus (Year ended June 2020) – 7,600
  • Resident Australian population born in Cyprus (2016 census) – 16,936
  • Australian residents of Cypriot descent [2016 census] – 28,991
  • Cypriot working holidaymakers (2019-20) – 18
  • Cypriot students enrolled in Australia (2019) – 74

High level engagement

  • January 2020 – The President of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus visited Australia
  • November 2019 – The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel visited Cyprus and met with the Cypriot Minister for Defence, Mr Savvas Angelides.

Agreements and arragments with Cyprus

  • 1992 – Social Security

Texts of bilateral agreements are available at the Australian Treaties Database.

Political Overview

In 1960, the Republic of Cyprus gained independence from the UK.  In 1974 Turkish troops occupied the northern part of the island, which the Turkish Cypriot authorities declared the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ in 1983. The island remains divided.

The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was established in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities. UNFICYP was Australia’s longest serving UN peacekeeping mission (53 years). Major General Cheryl Pearce, AM was the first Australian Commander of UNICYP. She held the position for two years and completed her tenure on 4 January 2021. 

Australia supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus and recognises the Republic as the only legitimate authority on the island. Australia does not recognise the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus'.

The Republic of Cyprus is a unitary presidential representative republic. The President appoints the Council of Ministers, who may not be members of the House of Representatives. The unicameral House of Representatives consists of 80 members, elected by a form of proportional representation for a five year term. 

Public diplomacy

The Australian High Commission in Nicosia actively promotes Australia’s commitment to international peace and security, multilateral cooperation, women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Activities have included supporting peace building and reunification through the Cyprus Academic Dialogue, hosting and participating in cultural events, co-hosting and sponsoring the bicommunal ‘Women’s Walk & Talk’ event, and supporting tertiary and research events.

Australian High Commission to Cyprus

Economic diplomacy

In 2019, Australia's two-way goods and services trade with Cyprus was valued at $273 million.
Services imports from Cyprus were valued at $211 million, compared with Australian services exports to Cyprus of    $21 million.
Total merchandise imports from Cyprus were valued at $32 million, compared with Australian merchandise exports to Cyprus of $9 million.

Major merchandise imports from Cyprus to Australia included cheese & curd; medicaments (including veterinary); tobacco; and household equipment of base metal.

Major merchandise exports to Cyprus from Australia included coated flat-rolled iron & steel; aircraft, spacecraft & parts; alcoholic beverages; and miscellaneous manufactured articles.
In 2019, total foreign investment in Australia from Cyprus was valued at $126 million, compared with Australian total investment in Cyprus of $59 million.

Economic and trade information.

Australia continues to seek opportunities to promote Australian business and raise awareness of potential benefits of increased trade between Australia and Europe, including Cyprus. This work has intensified following the launch of Australia-EU FTA negotiations in June 2018.

More information about the Australia-EU FTA.

Business

Australia has niche markets in Cyprus, including in cooling equipment, pleasure boating products, mining, wine, processed foodstuffs and beauty products and pharmaceuticals. Recent years have seen Australian interests engage on Cyprus' renewable energy, water and mining markets.

As an EU member with a Common Law legal system and English widely spoken, Cyprus offers opportunities for Australian businesses, including financial services, consultancy and logistics in the burgeoning fields of aviation/airports, gas & energy, infrastructure, tourism, casinos, and waste management.

See Austrade for information on doing business in Cyprus.

Travel

See Smartraveller for Information on travelling to Cyprus.

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