BERLIN – Responding to the ongoing speculation about a no-deal Brexit and how a UK decision to unilaterally end free movement on 31st October could affect British nationals living in the EU 27 Jane Golding, Co-Chair of British in Europe said:
‘People have never been the real priority in the Brexit negotiations despite what both sides claimed. And it has always been about reciprocity. Theresa May didn’t accept the EU’s first comprehensive offer on citizens’ rights, and didn’t push hard for free movement, which is key for most of the 80% of us who are working age or younger. Instead she made a counter-offer because she was obsessed with reducing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. It was at this point that the bargaining away of our rights and lives began.
So the deal on citizens’ rights was far from perfect but nothing compared to no deal. And a number of countries, including France, Spain and Germany, with some of the largest populations of UK citizens, have reciprocity clauses in their no-deal contingency legislation. Other countries haven’t decided yet what our long-term status will be post a grace period. So, the treatment of British citizens in the EU (understandably) depends on how their own citizens are treated in the UK.
If the EU 27 see their nationals being treated badly by the UK government, they are likely to reciprocate. Attitudes could harden – and even if they don’t, the EU 27 could simply adopt a wait and see attitude, which just means more uncertainty. ’
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British in Europe
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British in Europe is the largest coalition group of British citizens living and working in Europe. It is comprised of ten core groups across the continent representing a membership of around 35.000 Brits working together to stand up for the rights of UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK.