German and French ministers recommend citizenship for UK expats

Published:  5 Jul at 6 PM
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Possible solutions to the plight of UK expats living and working in Europe are finally on the political agenda of several EU member states.

Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister Sigmar Gabriel was the first top-ranking European politician to suggest that his country needs the skills offered by younger British expats already working within German companies. In a Berlin meeting with the Social Democratic Party he suggested that young British nationals living in Italy and France as well as in Germany should be offered dual citizenship in order to remain as EU citizens.

Gabriel added the SDP had supported the idea long before the disastrous outcome of the Brexit referendum made it an imperative in order to keep top talent in-house. Current laws force non-Swiss and non-EU citizens to renounce their previous citizenships in order to be granted German citizenship. Gabriel believes his government should consider how they can help rather than just closing the door to British expat talent.

France’s Patrick Weil, a leading law professor whose speciality is citizenship, is also suggesting that British expats be given French nationality. The author of ‘How to be French’, Weil is now concentrating on means by which France could help the tens of thousands of UK expats panicking about their future in their chosen country of residence.

Weil told the expat media that the French parliament should ‘roll out the red carpet’ to all Brit expats by offering them citizenship via an easy route. He said that, as France had always allowed dual citizenship, UK nationals desperate to stay in France shouldn’t need to renounce their British citizenship. There are, he added, no legal issues which would prevent this solution, saying that existing rules as regards length of time in the country and speaking French should be relaxed due to the exceptional circumstances caused by Brexit.
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