Status of Cypriots in British base areas unchanged after Brexit

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-15 21:23:57|Editor: xuxin
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NICOSIA, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The status of several thousand Cypriots living within the boundaries of the British Sovereign Base Areas on the eastern Mediterranean Island will remain unchanged after Britain's withdrawal from the European Union (EU), according to a draft Brexit deal.

The Draft Agreement on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU posted by European Commission late Wednesday stated that the arrangements applicable to relations between the EU and the British Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus will continue to be defined within the context of the Republic of Cyprus membership of the Union.

Britain retained as its sovereign soil two areas totaling 254 square kilometers or 3 percent of the island's territory, in different spots on the southern and southeastern coasts, to use as military bases, when Cyprus became independent in 1960.

Britain opted to leave these areas outside EU jurisdiction when Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, but otherwise accepted the application of the customs union and common commercial policy, taxation and agriculture controls within its bases.

This means that about 11,000 Cypriots living within the boundaries of the two bases at Akrotiri and Dhekelia are subject to Union legislation for most of their everyday activities, but are subject to British legislation when it comes to crime and road offences and their cases are tried by separate courts established by the base authorities.

Even so, it makes no practical difference for the population, as British and Cypriot legislation is based on Common Law and is almost identical. People employed by the base authorities will still have their salaries calculated and paid in euros.

The continuation of existing arrangements will also apply to imports and supplies through Cypriot ports and airports for the needs of the bases, meaning that they will not be subject to taxes and import levies and that customs control will be exercised by the bases authorities.

Several thousand British permanent residents of Cyprus, mostly pensioners, will also be unaffected, as they will not be required to go through the process of obtaining new residence documents.