In the Cyprus Sunday Mail (April 24, 2016) it states: ‘Cyprus has no plan of action to address the impact of the United Kingdom’s possible exit from the European Union on British expats living and working on the island, should June’s referendum result in a Leave vote, a senior government source told the Sunday Mail’.
There is a mixture of feelings in Cyprus at the moment. Firstly, in May, there are elections in the douth, and there is a lot of thought into whether the Island will re-unite fully or in some new form after being separated for 41 years. There is talk of a referendum very soon to decide the outcome of Cyprus. Secondly, we are surrounded by the enormous numbers of migrants in many countries very close to us and some on the island with all the issues that this brings plus the Wars in Syria, Iraq and the Yemen.
Cyprus became a member of the EU in 2004. Cyprus remains a member of the Commonwealth with considerable economic, social, cultural and personal links and relations in the UK. The Sunday Mail states: ‘Questions relating to the residency and employment status, business-venture framework, health-care arrangements and property ownership rights of British expats already taking advantage of EU rules have been left unanswered, largely because there are no real, hard answers at this point’.
If Britain decides to leave, talking to many different people in Nicosia the consensus believe:
- it will pose an economic threat to Cyprus who already are in a fragile economic state. The Cyprus peoples are still recovering from a ‘haircut’ in 2013 of large proportions that many will never recover from, with many losing both their jobs, and large amounts of their savings. For expats, they firmly believe that the pound will weaken in the short term, and so pensions will lose more value.
ii. The status of many British people living here, working, without work or retired.
Being a part of the EU gives them security, without, would they be asked to leave?
iii. There is a reciprocal agreement between Britain and Cyprus regarding healthcare, would this continue if Britain were to leave the EU?
If Brexit occurs the government of Cyprus would be under serious pressure to see current conditions continuing. The expat community contributes significantly to the local economy and Anglo-Cypriot families with financial and cultural interests in both places. In my opinion the Government would want to maintain something like the status quo. Many of the present arrangements (tax and pensions) pre-date Cyprus joining the EU. But this UK debate and vote asks many questions about the relationship between the UK and Cyprus that cannot have an answer at the moment, because we simply don’t know.
The Very Revd Jeremy Crocker, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Nicosia