CYCLING ALONG THE LAST BORDERS IN THE EU
A round table held in the Palais in 2003 was dedicated to the question of the perception of historic moments. Most of the attendees admitted that they had missed various historic moments, especially the Fall of the Wall. That realisation triggered an unusual proposal: to mark every future enlargement of the European Union with a bike ride along its borders. One particularly exciting project in this context involved Cyprus – and a cycling tour of the notorious Green Line. Just before the start of the journey, the Annan Plan (named after the former Secretary General of the United Nations) was rejected in a referendum. Cyprus joined the EU under the juridical fiction of a single island territory. The political reality remains that of a divided state.
Eastern enlargement of the EU brought the conflict over Cyprus to the fore (see Zypern als Europäischen Zankapfel). Against this background it was an exciting adventure to cycle along the border that seperates the Turkish north from the Greek south of this contested island. A short report on this journey can be found in the magazine ACADEMIA (June 2004).
It was in the last week of April 2004, shortly before the tour started, that the referendum on the so called Annan plan took place (see a comment in Dolomiten as of 24 April 2004). In fact the Southern part of the Island rejected the unification of the Island (see a comment in Dolomiten as of 27 April).
On 1 May 2004 the fatal border between the North and the South was opened. Us and our bikes were amongst the first to cross the checkpoint (see Cyprus mail as of 28 April 2004).
The project "Cycling along the last borders" was preceded by an inter community civil society project co-organised by the European Academy: on this project see the comment in Dolomiten as of 27 February 2004.