‘The Islands of Cyprus and Great Britain in times of the COVID-19 pandemic: variations on the Rule of Law ‘in and out’ of the EU’

By Prof. Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou, Professor of European Law and Reform and Head, School of Law, University of Central Lancashire, Cyprus campus (UCLan Cyprus) and Ms. Andrea Manoli, PhD Candidate, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Associate Lecturer and Research Fellow, Jean Monnet Module EU-POP, School of Law, UCLan Cyprus.

The authors would like to thank Dr. Klearchos Kyriakides, Deputy Head and Assistant Professor in English Law, Constitutional History and Professional Skills, School of Law, UCLan Cyprus, for his comments and review of this blog. Any errors remain our own.

The present blog-post aims at conducting a comparative preliminary investigation into the initial responses to the coronavirus pandemic in three inter-linked jurisdictions namely, the UK with a focus on England, the Republic of Cyprus and the adjacent Sovereign Base Areas on the Island of Cyprus.

With a brief account of the relationship between the three jurisdictions, the blog-post answers two interlinked questions. Firstly, to what extent has the principle of precaution central to the EU, its Member States – both present and past – and their territories, been upheld in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic? Secondly, as COVID-19 spread across the EU during the critical months March to May 2020, was there effective coordination between the EU, Cyprus as a Member State, the UK and/or any territories thereof? 

The authors find that while the Republic of Cyprus applied early on the principles of precaution and effective coordination largely originating at the EU level, the UK theorised the situation until it was too late. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinstated and reinforced the need for effective international and regional coordination to which the UK needs to contribute, and can benefit from, even in a post-Brexit transitional period. Enhanced coordination and solidarity are also required during the de-escalation and recovery phases of the pandemic. These appear to be aspects of Brexit, exposed by the pandemic, which had not been sufficiently thought through during the negotiations, to the detriment the Rule of Law.

Read the article at UCLan Cyprus Law School Blog

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