Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Saturday that Cyprus wants the status of EU citizens to continue to apply and be recognised within the Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) on the island.
Kasoulides said the foreign ministry will work to ensure that EU citizens would continue to enjoy rights and privileges in SBA territory as they do throughout Europe. The rights are based on the two agreements made as part of Cyprus` EU Accession Treaty, one between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom and one between the United Kingdom and the EU.
“We will settle this accordingly. We have two years ahead of us to do it,” he said.
Asked about the future of Cyprus-UK bilateral relations, Kasoulides said that most of the issues, concerning the economy, trade, the banking sector, and other concerns will be settled at the EU level.
Referring to the time needed to see a successor to David Cameron, Kasoulides pointed out that “the gap in terms of time and the uncertainty will have repercussions on the markets and on public opinion in all members states, and therefore both sides need to take decisions on this issue.”
The foreign minister said that the EU heads of state and government, who will meet in Luxembourg on Tuesday, will give instructions to the European Commission on how to plan the next steps.
Referring to the meeting of the EU 27 Foreign Ministers, which he attended on Saturday, which British Minister for Europe David Lidington also attended, Kasoulides said that most participants stressed the need to show respect for the British electorate’s decision, “despite the fact that it was sad for us that they took this decision.”
He said most foreign ministers requested that the process for the UK exit from the EU should begin as soon as possible.
A period of two years will be needed for this to be concluded, Kasoulides said, adding that meanwhile the UK will continue to be an EU member to which EU law applies and for which there are obligations as for all other member states.
Referring to the fact that sterling plummeted after the Brexit announcement, Kasoulides said it was worrying but that it did not mean that sterling would remain at today`s levels.
He said tourist packages to British tourists visiting Cyprus this summer had been pre-sold, and therefore there was no immediate concern.
On the issue of Cypriots studying in the UK, Kasoulides said he did not think those who were currently studying there would be hit with higher fees.
Referring to the Cypriots non-permanent UK residents working in the country, he recalled that Cyprus is a Commonwealth member, enjoying a certain status as regards this issue. “Those who currently work there have a permit to do so and are not affected,” he said.
As regards the British citizens of Cypriot origin, he said they will be treated in the same way as other British citizens.