By Stelios Orphanides
President Nicos Anastasiades said that maintaining legal certainty for both European citizens and companies in the divorce negotiations with the UK is of foremost importance.
Anastasiades, who was addressing an event in Nicosia on Thursday, said that he considers particularly important that the other 27 European Union member states “have maintained their unity and proceed based on the agreed negotiation’s principles”.
The intention of Cyprus, considered one of the countries most exposed to Brexit, “is to cooperate seamlessly with all our partners so that the future relationship with the UK secures in the best possible way our common interest, via close and good relations with Britain after it leaves the union,” Anastasiades said according to a transcript of his speech forwarded by the Press and Information Office.
The UK is the largest source of visitors for Cyprus’s hospitality industry, which accounts directly or indirectly for about a quarter of the economy, which exited in 2015 a prolonged recession. In July last year, the month after British voters decided to leave the EU, Moody’s Investors Service said that Cyprus was also exposed to Brexit because of its corporate and financial links to the UK.
The negotiations, which have not achieved a breakthrough so far as significant differences remain concerning the amount the UK will have to pay when it leaves, “require a constructive and creative spirit to resolve important issues such as the UK’s financial obligations and the rights of our citizens, and to be subsequently able to negotiate our future relationship,” the Cypriot president said.
Progress in the divorce bill negotiation will allow the discussion of the UK’s future relation to the EU.
Cyprus, he continued, is in favour of a close and strengthened future relation and multilevel cooperation in key areas, including security, justice, trade and economy.
“We look forward to a just and holistic settlement of the issue related to our citizens’ rights to secure that their privileges will not be negatively affected,” he added. “The Republic of Cyprus’s negotiations with the British government about the status of the British bases and the Cypriots residing within them, in Britain and Britons leaving in Cyprus will be part of an intergovernmental dialogue between the UK and Cyprus”.