UK Troops in Europe: What's their future in a post-Brexit era?
In a post-Brexit era, one unknown is the fate of British military bases in EU member countries. Will they be dismantled and personnel sent home? Or walled and fenced off inside host countries? Cyprus currently hosts two British bases. CGTN's Stephanie Freid visited the island and talked to analysts about their predictions.
Cypriots say the British bases on their island are a throwback to colonial times. Two military bases - Akrotiri and Dhekelia - are positioned inside British sovereign areas inside Cyprus.
The areas span two hundred and fifty square kilometers. They were set up in the 1960's as a NATO line of defense and as part of a deal for Cypriot independence. Their territorial status has been compared to the United States' Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba.
NASIA HADJIGEORGIOU LAW PROFESSOR, UCLAN CYPRUS "The SBA'S are one of many British sovereign territories - British overseas territories. But Cyprus is exceptional in that unlike all the other overseas territories of the UK, it is run by the ministry of defense - not the Commonwealth."
Around eleven thousand Cypriots work and live in the sovereign areas alongside around four thousand British citizens.
STEPHANIE FREID AKROTIRI, CYPRUS "British sovereign areas aren't isolated by barriers or fences. You drive right into them without knowing it. Could that change with Brexit?"
International treaties bar walls and fences from being built in the areas. But if there's a No-Deal Brexit, moving goods and moving people in and out of British Sovereign areas gets tricky and the sticky issues of port control and double taxation come up.
STEPHANIE LAULHE SHIAELOU LAW SCHOOL DEAN, UCLAN CYPRUS "If there is no deal, if there is no provision for a soft border, you will have a third country territory and an EU member state next to it. So somehow there must be control taking place - definitely for British citizens because they won't be EU citizens anymore. Definitely for third country nationals, but what about Cypriots? What about Cypriots moving within their own island?"
Analysts say the British and Republic of Cyprus economies are so integrated that regardless of a deal or no deal Brexit, an agreement is inevitable. A draft accord is currently in the works. Stephanie Freid, CGTN, Akrotiri, Cyprus.