Cyprus: Country and Foreign Investment
Population, Language and Culture
Cyprus has a population of just over 1.1m (July 2011 est), of whom the majority are ethnically Greek, living in the southern part of the island. More than 200,000 Turkish Cypriots and Turkish immigrants live in the northern part of the island, separated from the south by a UN-supervised buffer zone. The official languages in the two zones are Greek and Turkish, but most Cypriots speak English, which is extensively used in business and commerce.
The main cities are Nicosia (the capital and business centre), Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca, these last three being coastal cities around which the important tourist industry is concentrated.
The island's location has ensured that it played a full part in Mediterranean history, and its essentially Greek culture is leavened with many other influences. Classical ruins abound, but the most important modern influence has probably been that of the British, whose stay has contributed substantially to the island's Western business environment.
Cyprus successfully completed the EU accession process, and in May, 2004, the island joined the EU. After a referendum on the so-called 'Annan' plan to re-unify Cyprus saw a heavy vote against the plan in the Greek Cypriot zone (although the Turkish Cypriot north voted in favour) the EU's 'acquis communautaire' is temporarily suspended in the north. Reunification is nonetheless likely to take place along with Turkey's eventual entry to the EU, but the referendum has soured relationships between the parties, and the timing or terms of reunification are now very unclear.