Brit expats in Italy call for emergency meeting as no-deal Brexit looms

Published:  7 Jan at 6 PM
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In an attempt to clarify British expats’ positions in several Brexit scenarios, an emergency meeting of British in Italy has been called.

British in Italy is part of the pan-European rights campaign group British in Europe, committed to ensuring the human rights of not only its 30,000 members but also the rights of the five million expatriates severely affected by the Brexit threat. Since late last year, the pressure on those desperately wanting to continue their chosen lifestyles has increased still more due to the chaos in the UK government over Theresa May’s unpopular agreement.

The group believes controversy over the leadership challenges and the delayed vote are hiding the desperate position of those most seriously affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Around 50,000 British expats are believed to be living in Italy, although it’s possible the numbers are far higher due to a lack of official registration. Both British in Italy and British in Europe contend that May’s withdrawal agreement takes back the key issue of rights to freedom of movement as well as associated rights including the right to offer cross-border services essential for many British-owned businesses in the EU.

The worst scenario of a no-deal Brexit would immediately mean all Britons in Europe became third-country nationals illegally living in EU member states. Tougher immigration requirements would immediately follow, forcing many to repatriate to the UK against their will. Expat anger is now focused on Theresa May, as most believe her postponing of the vote on her agreement was simply engineered to keep her job and get more concessions from the EU, a route which is certain to end in failure as the EU’s negotiators are clear in that no better deal is available.

What is clear is that British expats across Europe’s initial fears have now become reality in that they were being used as bargaining chips in a strategy now proven to have spectacularly failed. Those living in Italy are in the worst position as, unlike Germany, Spain, France and several other EU member states, their country of residence has not yet passed any laws protecting its resident British expats.
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