Better Brexit news for UK expats in Cyprus

Published:  12 Jul at 6 PM
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UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is calling for an informal meeting with his EU counterparts to attempt to guarantee rights of residency for UK citizens living in EU member states.

Hammond is, at present, the only senior member of government who has expressed any concern for the plight of British expats living and working in EU member states. His request for a meeting to determine a way which ensures fair treatment for over a million British citizens requires a u-turn in the ban on negotiations before Article 50 is triggered.

Should the foreign ministers of the 27 EU member states agree to the proposed informal meet, both Britain and the EU would benefit as regards future negotiations as expats’ right to remain is one of the most controversial issues thrown up by Brexit. If an informal deal takes place and includes Cyprus, it should allow registered permanent residents the right to stay, although one suggestion involves only those Brits who were actually registered in Cyprus prior to the referendum date.

Some 63,000 British expats are at present living in Cyprus, whether for retirement or business purposes. The majority have bought homes, many have children born on the island, have started and run successful businesses employing locals, and all have contributed to the Cypriot economy. In addition, many male children of long-stay expats have spent time as conscripts in the island’s army.

Although EU leaders have ruled out any informal negotiations, insisting on Article 50 being declared before any talks can take place, the debate over the fate of the million plus Brit expats and the three million EU nationals in the UK has been raging since June 23. There is now a strong feeling that all affected, no matter where in the EU they are settled, are being used as pawns in the political game of negotiations between EU top brass and what remains of a government in the UK.
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