Uncertainty continues for UK expats in EU

Published:  1 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, Citizenship, Euro, England
Theresa May’s failure to fast-track a reciprocal deal on the status of both UK expats in Europe and EU expats in the UK has left several million migrants in a continuing state of uncertainty.

Donald Tusk’s and Angela Merkel’s tough responses to May’s attempt at an expat amnesty seem to have made it clear that the European government’s attitude towards Britain’s leaving the EU is hardening even more. Had her proposal been accepted, 1.2 million Brits in EU member states and a further 3.3 million EU citizens in the UK would have received guaranteed rights to remain.

May had hoped to be able to announce a deal within the next few weeks, but Merkel’s vetoing of any agreement finally put an end to a happy Christmas for the millions of migrants involved. In the meantime, EU leaders and politicians from a number of member states are growing increasingly frustrated at the UK government’s lack of solid information about their Brexit plans.

The failure of May’s attempt to clarify the expat situation is being seen as a forerunner of even tougher EU-wide reactions to the Brexit decision, causing increasing concern not only to migrants but also to import/export businesses and the UK-based financial industry. The lack of any concrete information from the government is also causing economic uncertainty within Britain’s industrial sector.

According to media reports, over a million former ‘Leave’ voters are changing their minds as the real world kicks in and the lies of the Leave campaign become evident. Protest groups formed by UK expats in Europe are gathering strength, with some preparing to take legal action in order to stop Brexit in its tracks.

Expat hopes that some kind of reassurance could be given before Article 50 is triggered are based on concerns that, once Britain begins the leaving process, their needs will simply ignored by the UK government in its rush to create trade agreements to replace the single market. Another concern is that, once Article 50 is triggered, it will be too late to withdraw should Britain be forced to accept a hard deal.
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