"Cyprus still faces a real military threat from Turkey and the role of EU in a post solution environment, especially on security and guarantees are very much in our minds… As a small member state with limited resources, Cyprus values the importance and strength that comes from collective EU efforts and strongly welcomes the notion of protection of the Union in the work going forward in the fields of security and defense," Kasoulides said.
He pointed out that Cyprus has always been "in the vicinity of areas with a long history of conflict and internal turmoil."
"A new defense fund for military procurement and collaborative research will be a highly useful tool for member states to pursue these goals at a time when many are facing financial constraints," Kasoulides added.
On November 30, 2016 the European Commission proposed to establish a new defense fund for military procurement and collaborative research as part of a wider EU defense strategy. The proposed goal of the fund is to foster investment in research on innovative defense technologies, including electronics, encrypted software, metamaterials, and robotics. The EU member states would also be able to borrow from the fund to buy military technology and equipment for their national armies.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey occupied the island's north, later proclaiming the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Turkey maintains military presence in TRNC, which is only recognized by Ankara as an independent state. The sides of the conflict held reunification talks in early January with participation of guarantor countries, namely Greece, Turkey and Great Britain, as well as the European Union. On February 9, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci asked the United Nations to arrange next International Conference on Cyprus with participation of guarantor countries in early March.