Cyprus president upsets UK expats during London Greek Radio interview

Published:  13 Jun at 6 PM
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During his visit to the UK, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades managed to alienate UK expats living in Cyprus with his lack of concern for their plight should Brexit become a reality.

The interview on London Greek Radio was set up to encourage the high number of Cypriot expats living and working in the UK to vote ‘Remain’ in order to strengthen their positions as UK residents. Due to Cyprus’s history as part of the Commonwealth, Cypriot expats are allowed to vote in all UK elections including the Brexit referendum, unlike British expats who are barred from voting at all after 15 years’ absence from the UK.

During the interview, Anastasiades concentrated on the financial threat to the Cypriot economy should Britain leave the EU. His first concern was the disruption by a fall in sterling of the island’s tourism market, mostly aimed at Britons, with his second point that trade between the two countries would be hard hit. Thirdly, he publicised the possible plight of Cypriot students unable to get UK student loans after a Brexit.

According to former British High Commissioner Ric Todd, Brit expats living in Cyprus total around 63,000 and possibly more, as not every UK citizen has registered. The large community, he said, contributes significantly to the island’s economy and to its society as a whole. British expats state the president has done nothing to encourage them to vote ‘Remain’, nor has he attempted to explain his government’s position as regards their security should Brexit succeed.

At present UK expats in Cyprus believe they are on their own as regards any governmental help or even information to encourage them to vote. His in-your-face campaign for Cypriot expats in the UK is seen as a denial of the importance of the island’s expat community, many of whom have been residents for decades and are still disallowed from voting in the island’s own elections.
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