UK Cypri­ots clearly sup­port to re­main

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Bri­tish politi­cians from the ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties ad­dressed a UK Cypriot au­di­ence at the Greek Cypriot Brother­hood, in north Lon­don, last week in a re­main cam­paign event or­gan­ised by the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Cypri­ots in the UK and the Euro­pean Move­ment ahead of the June 23 ref­er­en­dum.

The open meet­ing was at­tended by the Sec­re­tary of State for Ed­u­ca­tion Nicky Mor­gan who urged UK Cypriot vot­ers “not to turn their backs” on the EU. Cypriot cit­i­zens liv­ing in the UK are el­i­gi­ble to vote in the EU ref­er­en­dum as Com­mon­wealth cit­i­zens, thus be­ing one of the three EU na­tion­al­i­ties apart for the Bri­tish who have a say in de­cid­ing the UK’s Euro­pean fu­ture (along with the Mal­tese and the Ir­ish).

The Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary urged UK Cypri­ots not to let any­one else make the de­ci­sion for them and turn out to vote. She said that for her, sup­port­ing Re­main is a very straight­for­ward choice: for a bet­ter fu­ture for the young peo­ple, for the co­op­er­a­tion with EU part­ners on se­cu­rity and on shar­ing in­tel­li­gence, but also on tack­ling cli­mate change, hu­man traf­fick­ing and other shared chal­lenges.

“Bri­tain is an out­ward fac­ing na­tion; we play our part in the world, we work with oth­ers to tackle the prob­lems that we face,” said Mor­gan.

She con­cluded by not­ing that the cru­cial vote is “about the coun­try’s fu­ture for decades to come and about a state­ment on the UK’s place in the world and the role we want to play as a coun­try.”

The former Health Min­is­ter and Lib­eral Demo­crat MP, Nor­man Lamb, said that he does not con­sider him­self to be “a star­ryeyed sup­porter of the EU”, nev­er­the­less he op­poses a Brexit be­cause he recog­nises the di­ver­sity and con­tri­bu­tion to the Bri­tish so­ci­ety and econ­omy made by EU mi­grants; be­cause “an ab­so­lute wealth” of in­de­pen­dent ex­perts at home and abroad have un­equiv­o­cally opined that it is not in the best in­ter­est of the UK to leave the EU and be­cause the fu­ture of the whole con­ti­nent is at stake.

“We live through very dan­ger­ous times with a lot of threats. We would not be able to bet­ter con­front th­ese chal­lenges alone,” noted the Lib­eral Demo­crat MP.

Shadow For­eign Min­is­ter, Trustee of the APPG for Cyprus and Labour MP, Cather­ine West called upon the UK Cypri­ots and the rest of the vot­ers to “stand up for our val­ues: for tol­er­ance, work­ers’ rights, a bet­ter fu­ture and peace.”

Her fel­low Labour MP and Sec­re­tary of the APPG for Cyprus, Sir Alan Meale crit­i­cised the Leave cam­paign for us­ing “thor­oughly un­pleas­ant and dis­grace­ful” ar­gu­ments against EU mi­gra­tion, most of which he de­scribed as “racist”. He added that Brexit would cause an “im­mense re­ces­sion the scale of which will not have been seen since the 1920s” and urged the UK Cypriot di­as­pora to turn out at the polling sta­tions and help the UK re­main in the EU.

Con­ser­va­tive MPs Sir Roger Gale (Chair­man of the APPG for Cyprus) and Mike Freer (Of­fi­cer of the APPG for Cyprus), who were not able to at­tend, sent mes­sages urg­ing the Cypriot com­mu­nity to vote for re­main in the EU ref­er­en­dum.

Sir Roger noted that although he is a Euroscep­tic, he will be vot­ing for Bri­tain to re­main within the Euro­pean Union as he be­lieves it is in the in­ter­ests of the se­cu­rity and the econ­omy of the UK. He added that the UK re­main­ing as a mem­ber of the EU would also be in the best in­ter­est of Cyprus “given par­tic­u­larly de­vel­op­ments in Turkey and the present regime in that coun­try cou­pled with the mas­sive con­cerns over the fu­ture of mi­gra­tion within the Mediter­ranean and the wider Europe.”

In his speech, the Pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Cypri­ots in the UK, Christos Karao­lis, said that the UK’s place is at the heart of the Euro­pean Union.

“It is in the best in­ter­ests of our coun­try, Europe and in­deed Cyprus. Our mem­ber­ship of the Euro­pean Union over the last 43 years has strength­ened the UK’s se­cu­rity, boosted pros­per­ity with jobs, trade and in­vest­ment and en­shrined pro­tec­tions for work­ers and women.”

Karao­lis added that a vote to leave the EU would dam­age Cyprus and urged his fel­low UK Cypri­ots to use their cru­cial vote to re­ject Brexit.

“Cyprus is one of the UK’s top 50 trad­ing part­ners and the UK is Cyprus’s sec­ond biggest trad­ing part­ner. How­ever, it is not just trade and tourism that would be im­pacted. Some 10,000 Cypriot stu­dents study in the UK ev­ery year and many stay on af­ter­wards and the UK has con­sis­tently been a strong ally of Cyprus in the Euro­pean Coun­cil and its com­mit­tees. So, what mes­sage would we be send­ing back to Cyprus if, as a com­mu­nity, we voted to leave the Euro­pean Union?” he asked.

Con­clud­ing the event, Karaoo­lis said “let’s not be un­der any il­lu­sions. The vote of our di­as­pora is cru­cial in the EU ref­er­en­dum on June 23, so please make your vote count and vote to Re­main in the Euro­pean Union.”

Also present were the High Com­mis­sioner of Cyprus, Evripi­des Evriv­i­ades, the Deputy Chair­man of the Con­ser­va­tive Party in Lon­don, Kishan De­vani, the former MEP, Ma­rina Yan­nakoudakis and Pres­i­dent of POMAK, An­dreas Pa­paevripi­des.

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