Expat fury over Junckers refusal of reciprocal deal

Published:  2 May at 6 PM
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Reports following the disastrous meeting between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker are suggesting a European Commission plot to thwart May’s efforts to get a reciprocal deal giving security to both UK and EU expats by the end of June.

The reports, carried by major media outlets in the UK, have sparked fury amongst Britons living in European member states as well as impacting on EU citizens living and working in the UK. Juncker had been reported as being ‘astonished’ by May’s demand, but leaked documents have revealed she made the same demand to European Council president Donald Tusk three weeks before her meeting with Juncker. In addition, the leaked documents suggest EU officials had already decided to block any such deal, in spite of a number of previous reassuring statements on the issue.

Commentators are accusing the EU of pushing to secure a financial deal on the proposed 60 billion euro divorce fee at the expense of the rights of both British and EU expat citizens, with the full details of the meeting published in a German newspaper attracting denials from Brexit supporters over the strongly negative comments made by Junckers. According to the Daily Telegraph, May is now calling for negotiations on the expat issue ‘at the earliest possible stage’, a statement highly unlikely to reassure either category of expatriates. It’s anyone’s guess how the EU’s new hardline stance will affect the results of May’s upcoming snap general election.

Following on from this disaster, the fate of the four million UK and EU expats looks even less secure and even more complex. Senior EU diplomats are concerned about the legal morass expected to result from a ‘no deal’ exit. Formerly, the EU parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt stated the issue was complex as it involves an entire cycle of modern-day life including freedom pf movement, pension rights, benefits, residence rights, marriage, divorce and much more. Should Britain leave without a fixed agreement on the four million, the result would be unimaginable.
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