In the case of a no-deal Brexit, British citizens currently residing in Cyprus will be able to continue residing and enjoying the same rights as provided for in Britain’s withdrawal agreement with the EU, the government said on Wednesday.
The government informed the UK government of its decision on British citizens’ rights after the UK withdraws from the EU in a letter sent by Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides to Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The withdrawal agreement negotiated between British Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU was rejected by the British parliament last month, raising the prospect of the UK crashing out of the EU on March 29 without a deal.
The withdrawal agreement Christodoulides’ letter said, “is the best way forward and provides much needed certainty for our citizens and businesses, whilst mitigating, to the extent possible, the negative Brexit repercussions.”
But he said Cyprus was preparing in close cooperation with the EU and other member states for all outcomes, including that of a no deal exit.
“Citizens’ rights remain high on Cyprus’ agenda and Cyprus has welcomed the UK government decision to unilaterally apply the same approach provided for in the withdrawal agreement, for all EU citizens residing in the UK, safeguarding in this way their rights of residence and access to benefits on the same terms as they presently enjoy, in the event that the UK were to leave the EU without an agreement,” he said in the letter.
In the case of a no deal Brexit, he said, “Cyprus stands ready to ensure that those British citizens residing in Cyprus presently, and until 29 March 2019, will be able to continue residing and enjoying the same rights as provided for in the withdrawal agreement.”
He added that necessary arrangements mirroring the provisions of the withdrawal agreement will be taken, so as to protect, to the extent possible, their current rights.
“At the same time, in certain areas, a uniform application of such rights by all member states must be secured, for the benefit of citizens, and as such measures are to be taken at union level and reciprocal arrangements should be sought.”
In his letter, Christodoulides said that although Cyprus deeply regretted the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, it fully respected the relevant decision. Cyprus, he said, “advocates for a strong relationship between the EU and the UK post Brexit, recognising that maintaining close cooperation in crucial fields will be beneficial to all.”