UK and EU talking in different tongues over Brexit

Published:  4 Jul at 6 PM
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Campaigners for expat rights are frustrated by their belief that the UK and EU Brexit negotiators are ‘speaking in different languages’ as regards the negotiations.

A joint statement issued by the 3Million and the British in Europe coalition (BIE) states the major issue with May’s offer last week is that it doesn’t reciprocate the EU’s offer but substitutes it with less effective concepts based on the British legal system. Put bluntly, May’s ‘settled status’ solution offers a far less generous system of protection, and totally ignores the future status of UK expats in EU member states.

The campaigners are warning the loss of essential rights pertaining to EU expats living and working in the UK may well spark retaliatory action on British expats by the EU. Campaigners working with the 3 Million group believe the EU’s offer should have been taken as the starting point for discussions on the entire issue, given certain clarifications, and those representing the BIE say May could have simply offered the incorporation into British law of existing EU rights already held by European expats.

Serious deficiencies in the UK offer include meaner rights as regards family reunification and a lack of commitment to the principle of equal treatment for all those affected. Both groups are concerned over important issues including student rights, healthcare entitlement and pensions, on which three the UK offer is unclear. In addition, a number of MEPs are supporting an as yet unstated campaigners’ proposal which would ensure any agreement on expats’ equal rights is ring-fenced against disagreements on other negotiated aspects of Britain’s EU divorce.

In spite of the above, both the 3Million and BIE groups welcome certain aspects of the UK offer, including a suggestion that far less documentation should be required from EU citizens already settled in the UK. Britain’s intention to uprate state pensions paid in EU countries was well-received, although the caveat ‘subject to reciprocity’ wasn’t appreciated as its meaning was considered unclear.

Source: The Connexion France
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