UK expats post-Brexit rights still at risk as politicians argue

Published:  19 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, Citizenship, Euro, England
Confusion is still the order of the day as EU and UK lawmakers fight over expats' rights.

As if the present situation wasn’t enough to send British expats in the EU running for the nearest exit, the individual member states’ promises of continuing rights are now being seen by lawmakers on both sides as a problem rather than a reassurance. Right now, EU and UK lawmakers are clashing over the best way to guarantee citizens’ rights to some four million expatriates living outside their countries of origin in the still-likely event of a no-deal Brexit next October.

Conservative MPs are now urging Brussels to ring-fence British expats in all EU member states, following their pledge to do the same for EU expats living and working in the UK. Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay believes the scheme would be ‘far superior’ to the present situation in which a selection of EU countries have guaranteed a number of UK expats’ rights, but some haven’t as yet.
However, EU head Michel Barnier isn’t impressed, saying that ring-fencing all British expats’ rights no matter wherever in Europe they are living is anything but straightforward.

On the other hand, no-one’s certain whether Theresa May’s earlier guarantee is still on the table, as it protected the rights of EU citizens in the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit, in spite of her former refusal to even consider allowing EU expats to live, work and settle permanently in post-Brexit Britain. As a result of this seemingly unending political posturing, EU citizens in the UK now have guaranteed protection but, for Brits in the EU, there’s no gold standard of protection, no matter where they live. In particular, free healthcare in the event of a no-deal exit may well not be offered by a number of EU member states, even although their citizens living and working in the UK will be able to access the NHS. Talks, apparently, are continuing, but British expats across the EU have heard similar comments many times before.
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