The Federal Republic of Germany established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cyprus on 20 August 1960, shortly after the country gained independence on 16 August 1960. There is close cooperation and trust between the two countries at government level. Cyprus’ accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004 gave relations between the two countries a new political dimension.
Turkey’s military intervention in the north of the island in 1974 effectively divided the country in two. Germany does not maintain official relations with the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (recognised only by Turkey), but has wide-ranging contacts with representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community at the political and cultural level.
Soon after Cyprus became independent, a trade and economic agreement was concluded with Germany (1961), followed by an air transport agreement (1967), a double taxation agreement (1974) and an agreement on cross-border passenger and freight transport (1980). From 1987 onwards, the bulk of these agreements became EU law which, since Cyprus’s accession to the EU on 1 May 2004, now also applies in Cyprus. The new double taxation agreement entered into force on 16 December 2011 and was effective as of 1 January 2012.
In 2017, German imported goods worth 120 million euros from Cyprus and exported goods worth 567 million euros. Germany’s principal exports to Cyrus included electronic goods, chemical products, vehicles and vehicle parts, food, machinery and non-ferrous metals.
In tourism, an important sector for Cyprus, Germany ranked fourth in 2017, with just under 190,000 visitors, after the United Kingdom (approximately 1.1 million visitors), Russia (approximately 780,000) and Israel (approximately 260,000).
There is close cooperation between Cyprus and Germany in the shipping sector, which is mainly based in Limassol. This sector accounts for more than seven percent of the country’s GDP. Cyprus operates the world’s tenth largest fleet (currently numbering 2400 vessels). The shipping industry provides some 4500 onshore jobs and employs approximately 55,000 seafarers.
Germany maintains close cultural relations to both ethnic communities on the island, as well as to the autochthonous Maronite community. The cornerstone of cultural relations between Germany and Cyprus is the Goethe-Institut in Nicosia, which was re-opened in July 2011 after being closed for more than ten years. There is also a German-Cypriot Cultural Association, which works closely with the Goethe-Institut and the German Embassy in Nicosia, and a German-Turkish Cypriot Cultural Association. Other German-Cypriot organisations (German teachers’ and alumni associations) contribute to German cultural events on the island. A cultural agreement with the Republic of Cyprus was concluded in 1971.
In recent years, Cyprus has become more attractive as a study destination for German students. In addition to the country’s state universities (the University of Cyprus in Nicosia and the Cyprus University of Technology in Limassol), a number of private higher education institutions also participate in exchange programmes with German and European partner universities.
Bilateral academic and scientific cooperation is intensifying, for example between the Max Planck Society and the Cyprus Institute. Germans are among the researchers working at the prestigious Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics in Nicosia.
In 2004, an agreement on the mutual recognition of university degrees (equivalency agreement) was signed. This is designed to facilitate Cypriot and German students’ admission to German and Cypriot universities and the subsequent recognition of university degrees obtained at these institutions in the respective partner country.