NICOSIA, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- European Union countries have to prepare for a possible hard Brexit as the agreement reached between Britain and the EU is not renegotiable, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.
In a statement at the end of a summit of the leaders of the seven southern EU countries in Nicosia, Macron called on Britain to present the next steps to avoid a no-deal exit of the country from the EU.
"After the vote currently taking place in the chamber of Commons, I hope that the British government will be able to present to our negotiator, Michel Barnier, the next steps which will allow avoiding a no-deal Brexit, which no one wants, but which we all have to prepare for despite everything," Macron said.
He noted that the European Council has clearly indicated that the agreement reached between the European Union and Britain is the best possible and cannot be opened for new negotiations.
The Brexit agreement and possible developments were discussed by the Med-7 summit, which said in a declaration that the decision of Britain is "regrettable, but one we respect".
"We remain committed to an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU in order to guarantee certainty for citizens and businesses ... We will also intensify our work on preparedness for the consequences of the United Kingdom's withdrawal, taking into account all possible outcomes," the declaration said.
Government sources in Nicosia said a bill has been drafted providing that British citizens living in Cyprus will continue to have all rights EU citizens enjoy.
Cyprus expects Britain to reciprocate by applying the provisions of a protocol attached to the Brexit agreement, so that about 11,000 Cypriots living within the territory of the two British Sovereign Base areas in Cyprus will have the same rights as EU citizens enjoy in Cyprus.