Cyprus introduces emergency legislation as Brexit uncertainty reigns

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 5, 2019
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NICOSIA, April 4 (Xinhua) -- The Cypriot government is introducing to parliament emergency legislation to face the impact of a no-deal Brexit as the British government and lawmakers seem unable to decide on how to leave the European Union (EU), a leading parliamentarian said on Thursday.

Eleni Mavrou, the leader of the parliamentary interior affairs committee, said Cyprus has to make arrangements for the case the UK fails to reach an agreement with the EU for the modalities of the Brexit.

She said a bill approved by the cabinet is to be submitted to parliament on Friday for approval by April 12, when the current grace period given to the UK to make a decision on the Brexit expires.

"The bill enables people who live in Cyprus to have the right to stay on under the procedures currently in force, at least during a transition period. If along the way the EU makes other decisions, other arrangements would have to be made," Mavrou added.

She also said that British citizens will not need a visa for a three-month stay in Cyprus.

Britain is the main source of tourism for Cyprus, sending to the eastern Mediterranean island over one-third of the tourists, totaling around 4 million a year. There are also about 80,000 people with British or dual nationality living in Cyprus, most of them pensioners who made the island their retirement home.

The measures provided by the legislation, which also guarantees that British citizens who are entitled to social benefits will continue to enjoy them in case of an unregulated Brexit, will be applied provided that the UK reciprocates as far as Cypriots living in Britain or within the areas of the British Bases in Cyprus are concerned.

A survey by Standard & Poor's rating agency said Cyprus is fourth in line on a list of countries to be mostly affected by the Brexit.

Mavrou said that parliament will decide on Friday whether to discuss the legislation as a matter of urgency or to postpone debate on it for next Friday, April 12 and pass it before the day is out.

Action by the Cypriot parliament will depend on the outcome of discussions in London and Brussels on a possible extension of the Brexit grace period, according to Mavrou.

"Time is pressing," said Mavrou, who will steer the discussion on the bill at the parliamentary interior committee. Enditem

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