President Nicos Anastasiades and British Prime Minister Teresa May met briefly on Thursday where they discussed the protocol concerning the sovereign British Bases on the island once – or if – the UK leaves the European Union.
According to a statement by government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou, the two leaders conversed briefly in Brussels on the sidelines of the European Council summit.
The statement added that May was present at the summit, “having passed the test in the last few days with the vote in the UK parliament.
“The President of the Republic had an opportunity to have a conversation with Mrs. May specifically on the protocol concerning Cyprus.”
No other details were given.
Earlier this year, the EU and the UK reached an agreement in principle on Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc, and the protocol contained in the deal on the status of the British bases in Cyprus.
But since then, Britain’s planned exit from the EU has been thrown into disarray, and it is not clear at this time whether the country will leave at all, or if it will leave with a deal or without – the so-called ‘hard’ Brexit.
Under the protocol in the 585-page Brexit deal, the interests of some 11,000 Cypriots who live or work on the bases, were protected and their rights as EU citizens secured.
As outlined in the Joint Statement of 19 June 2018, both the EU and the UK committed to establishing appropriate arrangements for the Sovereign Base Areas, “in particular with the aim to protect the interests of Cypriots who live and work in the SBAs following the UK’s withdrawal from the Union, in full respect of the rights and obligations under the Treaty of Establishment.”
The aim of the protocol was to ensure that EU law would continue to apply in the Sovereign Base Areas, with no disruption or loss of rights for the Cypriot civilians living and working in the areas of the SBAs. This applies to a number of policy areas such as taxation, goods, agriculture, fisheries and veterinary and phytosanitary rules.