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EUROPE: Cyprus is preparing for a disorderly Brexit

13 March, 2019

Cyprus is intensifying preparations to safeguard against a possible disorderly Brexit, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Demetris Samuel told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).


Samuel said that “even though we fully respect the sovereign decision of the House of Commons, we are disappointed by the result of last night’s (Tuesday) voting in London, as it is obvious that it does not lead us closer to an orderly Brexit.”

“We continue to consider, as our European partners and the European Commission do, that the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom government that was concluded last November, in combination with the additional assurances given on behalf of the EU, is the only way which secures that Brexit will be completed in the most orderly and smooth way, under the circumstances,” Samuel added.

British lawmakers on Tuesday handed Prime Minister Theresa May a second humiliating defeat on the Brexit plan she had agreed with the EU, plunging the country deeper into political crisis.

The turmoil leaves the world’s fifth largest economy facing a range of scenarios - it could leave without a transition deal; delay the March 29 divorce date enshrined in law; May could hold a snap election or try a third time to get her deal passed; or Britain could hold another Brexit referendum.

“We continue to hope that within the period until March 29 positive developments will take place…we will continue to work with our partners in Brussels towards this direction, even though the required decisions need to be taken by London,” said Samuel

“In parallel, the Republic of Cyprus will continue and will intensify preparations which have been underway since last summer, with a view to be as much prepared as possible, in the undesirable event that we will be faced with the scenario of a no-deal Brexit,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson added.

The British parliament will vote on Wednesday on whether to leave the European Union in 16 days without an agreement as the government said it would eliminate import tariffs on a wide range of goods in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

On Wednesday, parliament is expected to reject a no-deal Brexit in a vote at 1900 GMT, although this will have no legal force. On Thursday, it will then vote on whether to ask the EU for a delay to Brexit, something to which all the bloc’s other 27 members must agree.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc would need to know why Britain wanted to extend talks and it was up to London to find a way out of the deadlock.