The Government and Politics of the European Union

Seventh edition

by Neill Nugent


Population 0.8 m
Capital Nicosia
Surface area 9,300 km2
Official Languages Greek and Turkish
Gross domestic product (GDP) (in euros) 18.03 bn
GDP as a % of EU-27, based on 2009 data 0.2
GDP per capita by purchasing power standards (indexed to EU average of 100) 96.2
Currency Euro
Human development index (HDI), an index based on life expectancy, education and GDP (max. 1) 0.903
World rank in HDI 28/177
Key economic sectors The main industry is tourism. Business services catering to international companies accounted for 14% of GDP in 2003, and there is an active insurance market and growing securities market.
Unemployment in January 2010 6.2% (source:
Main religious denominations (% of population) Greek Cypriots (who numbered 642,000 according to the 2002 census) are predominantly Greek Orthodox. Turkish Cypriots (87,400) are predominantly Muslim.
Political system Executive power is vested in a President elected for five-year terms and exercised through a Council of Ministers appointed by him/her. Legislative power is held by the House of Representatives, elected for five-year terms.
Electoral system Under the 1960 Constitution, 56 of the 80 seats in the House of Representatives are elected by Greek Cypriots, and the remainder by Turkish Cypriots. However, from 1963 Turkish deputies have refused to attend, and those 24 seats are no longer contested. Voting is compulsory, by preferential vote in a proportional representation system.
Current (March 2010) leaders President: Dimitris Christofias (b. 1946), since February 2008
Previous leaders: Presidents: Tassos Papadopoulos (2003-08); Glafcos Clerides (1993-2003)
Joined the EU/EC 2004
Commissioner from country in Barroso II College of Commissioners, and portfolio Androulla Vassilou (Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth)
Number of MEPs 6/754
Turnout in 2009 EP elections (%) 59.4
Member of eurozone Yes (joined 1 January 2008)

Except where a specific reference is inserted, the sources for this profile are either Neill Nugent’s book itself, or Barry Turner (ed.), The Statesman’s Yearbook Online, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. If your library subscribes, you can gain access at