People and events from Cyprus’ 20-year career in the EU are spotlit in the exhibition of photography staged at Cyprus’ Permanent Representation in Brussels by one of the first Cypriot officials to arrive in the EU’s central hub, and a key member of its delegation to this day: Panikos Anastasiou. A number of individuals who played a role in Europe’s progress were present at the event, whose message is “We started together, we continue together. 20 years of Cyprus in Europe.” These includes Cyprus’ first EU Commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, as well as the island’s former Permanent Representative to the EU and UN, Andreas Mavroyiannis. The Ambassador of Greece in Belgium, Sofia Grammata, was also present.

“As our slogan puts it, ‘We started together, we continue together’. Meaning we’re all one big family here, and that we will remain one, as old meets new and younger people join us. I want to say a big thank you to Greece, without whom we wouldn’t be here; in 2003, the Greek government at the time exerted a lot of pressure to make Cyprus’ accession a reality,” said Panikos Anastasiou. “What you see in the show represents months of work. As I was sitting at the computer looking at photos of the siblings I lost, my sister Giota and my brother Kleanthis, I wanted to do something to honor them and celebrate the memories we shared, 20 years of them, with you,” he added.

The photographic material reflects events and snapshots from the councils and political events, as well as less formal gatherings and the progress of Brussels’ Cypriot football team.

Cyprus’ first Commissioner to the EU, Markos Kyprianou, described Panikos Anastasiou as “the man who brought us all together with his initiatives and events, and whose hidden talent as a photographer we are seeing here now for the first time. Today, though, it’s what the photos represent that’s more important: namely, 20 years of Cypriot history in the EU. You’ll see social events, informal get-togethers, photos from official events, and the power of football to bring people together. Of course, the highlight of Cypriot life in Brussels is also present and correct: the barbecues Panikos and Elena hosted at their home.

“What you see in the exhibition represents a 20-year project. He didn’t only managed to immortalize events and moments and people, he also captured their emotions in his photographs. If I were to hazard a description, I would say that the show is a 20-year human retrospective, a look back at the Cypriot community in the EU and in Brussels,” he added.

Photo Exhibition

Despina Spanou, Head of Cabinet for Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and a member of Markos Kyprianou’s team in the Commission in 2004, noted that “As Cyprus, we started out facing challenges within the family, but we saw our island grow into a worthy and equal member of the European family. Now, we are looking ahead to continuing to grow steadily over the next 20 years, confident that, with our geopolitical position and our views, we can play an important role in Europe’s future.”

The Ambassador of Greece in Belgium, Sofia Grammata, paid tribute to the late Giannos Kranidiotis, adding “May we travel together, Greece and Cyprus, across calm seas”.

Finally, the correspondents of TO VIMA Irini Zarkadoula, RIK—Maria Psara, and the Cyprus News Agency—Yiorgos Kakouris were among those who received awards at the event for their contributions to the coverage of European issues.