Number 10 calls German media report expat rights fake news

Published:  3 May at 6 PM
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Number 10 Downing Street is denying leaked reports in a German newspaper stating that Theresa May is uninformed about the complexities over expat rights in the UK and EU.

The article in Frankfurter Allgemeine, written by the paper’s political editor and entitled ‘The disastrous Brexit dinner’, claimed the meeting was a fiasco which ended with EC president Jean-Claude Juncker stating he was ’10 times more sceptical’ and later telling Angela Merkel that May ‘lives in a different galaxy’. The clash included May’s wish to clarify the rights of the millions pf expats both in the UK and the EU who will be affected by Brexit.

The PM stated she thought the issue could be resolved as early as the end of June, a belief which, apparently, did not go down well with the EC leader. As expected, No 10 Downing Street is strenuously denying the report, rumoured to have originated from within the European Commission. Whatever the truth, the five-page long Frankfurter Allgemeine online version of the article is causing a furore amongst politicians and concerned expatriates alike.

The triggering of Article 50 has caused increased insecurity and anxiety in the expat communities in the UK and Europe, especially since it seems to have resulted in aggression on both sides, boding ill for expat rights. In a Financial Times article on the dinner, Juncker is said to have commented that settling the expat dilemma during the EU Council’s June meeting would not be possible due to the complexities of the issue, including the all-important rights to heathcare.

May’s raising of the subject at that time could be considered as yet another indication that pro-Brexit politicians were wrong in seeing the issue as relatively straightforward. Given that the unenviable position of UK and EU expats and the respective negotiating positions needed were fully stated in the Article 50 notification letter, it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise to Juncker when May brought the subject up.

The four million expats caught up in chaos decidedly not of their own making could be forgiven for thinking that a more reasonable reply might have been given to May’s request. Whatever was really said by whom or to whom, it’s just more bad news for expats.
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