Nicosia.- By Kyriaki Christodoulou/ CNA
The EU must stand united, show composure and do its utmost to safeguard and protect its own interests and those of its citizens, Cyprus` Permanent Representative to the EU, Ambassador Kornelios Korneliou has told CNA.
Ambassador Korneliou says that following the Brexit, the EU has found itself in an unprecedented crisis, in addition to all other challenges it was faced with in the recent years, such as immigration crisis, economic crisis and other issues.
He said that one cannot but feel sad and concerned over the outcome of the referendum, however the verdict is respected. He pointed out that “we need to stay calm and show unity and look ahead with a view to protect the interests of the EU and its people.”
Replying to a question about the instability in the EU following the result of the UK vote and a possible recession in Britain and the EU, Ambassador Korneliou said that the situation will be assessed in the meeting President of the European Council Donald Tusk has called for Wednesday with the 27 heads of states.
The leaders, he said, will discuss “the consequences of the referendum, what we are faced with the next day and how we will proceed from now on.”
Korneliou underlined that there are weaknesses, but that does not mean that the EU has lost its `raison d`être`.
He added that the challenges ahead now dictate that the EU must proceed with partnerships and collective responses.
Invited to comment on the reasons that may have influenced the final verdict of the people in the UK, Korneliou referred to the immigration crisis in relation to the political, economic and social consequences this entails as well as the difficulty to comprehend the benefits of EU membership.
He pointed out that nationalism has become an easy way out instead of compromises that are essential for the interest of the EU.
Korneliou also said that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty provides that a Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council and the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, over a period of two years, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal.
This period can be extended unanimously, he said. However, he pointed out, it is possible for the President of the Council to commence discussions and this is what is going to happen on Wednesday at the informal meeting of the 27 heads of state or government.