May’s meaningful vote and possible alternatives affecting Brit expats in Cyprus

Published:  3 Jan at 6 PM
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For British expats in Cyprus, Theresa May’s ‘meaningful vote’ will affect them almost as much as would a no-deal Brexit.

The curse of Brexit is still reverberating across British expats’ favourite long-stay European havens, with the alternatives as clear as mud. Each possible outcome has its own specific nightmares for expat Brits, even if enlightened government do their best for their country’s expatriate community. Oddly enough, May’s winning the upcoming vote is perhaps the best available option for expats, with the obvious exception of simply ending Brexit and reverting to normal. Expats in Cyprus and several other EU member states would keep most of their rights and could continue to live and work in their preferred countries.

Should May lose the vote, asking the EU for yet another try at a better deal for the UK wouldn’t win any prizes, but a delay of the March 29 deadline might just be possible. Should a miracle happen and May accept the case for another referendum, getting her own party’s full approval could well need another miracle. If she loses the upcoming vote and opts to try for EFTA membership as in the ‘Norway plus option’, she’ll have to accept freedom of movement – a very unlikely scenario. Yet another option is a snap general election, but the Tories wouldn’t want May to lead them into it. Should Labour win, Corbyn is likely to stay opposed to free movement, thus knocking out the EFTA option.

The worst possible outcome for expats is a no-deal exit, with Britain crashing out of the EU with nothing, leaving Britons in Europe without residency rights, private pension payments, a collapse of sterling, chaos for British SMEs overseas, no access to healthcare and probable few if any flights to Europe or anywhere else. Uncertainty in the British economy would be the buzzword for up to a decade, and inflation in the home country would soar. By now, it should be clear that all the available options with the exception of a reversal of the referendum result via a new poll are disasters in the making for the UK, its citizen residents and its expats living in the EU.
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