The President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has urged UK Cypriots to reject Brexit.
In an exclusive interview with the London Greek Radio (LGR) on Thursday morning, President Anastasiades applauded the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK for urging the members of the populous ethnic community to vote for remaining in the EU.
“An exit (of the UK) from the EU would not only affect Europe in general, but more particularly our home country, Cyprus,” said President Anastasiades.
He elaborated saying that an exit would most probably lead to a devaluation of the sterling. “This would have consequences for us if you take into account that 40% of tourist arrivals in Cyprus come from the British market. There could also be repercussions on trade between the two countries, with Cypriot exports to the UK having reached 8%, the same as the imports from the UK.”
He added that other problems could occur, such as the right of Cypriot students in universities around the UK to secure loans, currently under the same terms as the ones for British students.
“For these reasons I extend a warm call to our Cypriot compatriots and more widely to the Greek origin citizens living in the UK who have a right to vote, to position themselves positively towards Britain remaining in the EU,” said President Anastasiades.
He also said that the Commonwealth, presented by the “Leave” campaign as a block of international cooperation that the UK should explore further following an exit from the EU, “cannot be a substitute for the benefits offered by the European Union.”
President “cautiously optimistic” over the outcome of the settlement talks
The announced intensification of talks between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities aims to tackle the remaining differences and, should there be good will and mutual respect, achieve a settlement to the Cyprus issue “as soon as possible”, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades told London Greek Radio (LGR) .
“What I would like to make clear,” said the President of the Republic of Cyprus, “is that there should be no false impressions as to the possibility of an immediate breakthrough; there are still problems which need to be addressed in a way that the outcome would be a functioning and viable state, abiding to the principles and values of the EU and able to fulfil its obligations as an EU member state – thus the intensification of the talks.”
Asked whether he was optimistic about a settlement before the end of the year, President Anastasiades replied that “if there is be truly good will in the framework of the talks, then I wouldn’t just hope, I could feel certain.” He noted, however, that this is not a matter for only both parties to the talks, but also for Turkey. “This is why I am cautiously optimistic. I’d like to hope that Ankara has been weighing the benefits of a settlement.”
Referring to the Cypriot economy he said that the positive results of the consistent application of the bailout programme, which Cyprus recently exited, have already started being noticed, such as the positive growth rates and the downward trend in unemployment. He admitted though that there are still things to be done, as the depth of the crisis could not have been dealt with in only three years.