As Christmas approaches, will UK expats in EU be celebrating

Published:  12 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, Euro, England
Britons in Europe have been on a knife edge since the Brexit vote left their futures hanging in the balance, but recent legal moves may give reason to at least celebrate the upcoming festive season.

As the Supreme Court considers its verdict on the recent Article 50 challenge, a number of other anti-Brexit lawsuits are in preparation. In addition, a group of 40 or so MPs are meeting regularly in an attempt to force the government to avoid the dreaded ‘hard Brexit’ which would lose the UK’s access to the single market as well as the right to remain.

Another pro-single market group is looking to demand information on May’s stance, using the threat of legal action. Should Brexit happen, access to the single market would involve at least some free movement as well as assurances of the right to remain for EU expats in the UK as well as UK expats in Europe. The present chaos may work in favour of British expats overseas.

Yet another legal challenge is now underway by lobby group British Influence, backed by Lord Mandelson and aiming at a judicial review as to whether Britain’s EU divorce gives automatic withdrawal from the single market. The group‘s stance is that the referendum simply gave a mandate to the Leave campaign, but gave no mandate on leaving the single market, giving the chance to remain in the European Economic Area whilst ending EU budget payments and admittedly limiting but not forbidding free movement.

Further proceedings were set in motion in the Irish courts late last week, concentrating on the possibility of Brexit being cancelled by a ruling from EU judges. Finally, ministerial leaks suggest a secret group of Tory MPs are working on a plan to call a snap general election should the Supreme Court support the High Court’s verdict. Theresa May, it seems, would pose as ‘the people’s champion against the justices’ verdict’.

Whilst none of the legal arguments directly address the problem of the right to remain for a huge number of expats in and outside the UK, it’s hoped the constant challenges of May’s ‘Brexit means Brexit’ stance will wear down the supporters of a hard Brexit. A softer withdrawal might well give relief to those expats in the UK and EU member states whose lives will be overturned should the worst happen.
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