Are UK expats protected from Brexit effects by an EU directive

Published:  28 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, Citizenship, Euro, England
In a surprising article published on the eve of Therese May’s invoking of Article 50, its author states her insistence of using EU expats in the UK as bargaining chips for UK expats in Europe is invalidated by an existing EU law.

The article’s author claims he published an open letter to the British PM at the beginning of this month, to which he has not as yet received a reply. A personal email attempting to alert Brexiteers to the law was sent to Brexit Secretary David Davis and has also been ignored, but members of the Commons Brexit committee at least showed some interest and fired back several pertinent questions requesting clarification. However, when the author of the article offered to give evidence to the committee, a deafening silence resulted.

The facts, as seen by the writer, are as follows and are based on the EU Directive 2003/109/EC, which grants permanent residence rights to the majority of non-EU citizens who’ve been resident in an EU member state for more than five years. The majority of UK expats living in Europe for more than five years have that right as EU citizens under another EU directive, 2004/38/EC. Consequently, once they are no longer EU citizens due to Brexit, they should surely enjoy the same rights as do non-EU citizens under the EU Directive 2003/109/EC.

It is, according to the writer, inconceivable that UK expats would be prevented from carrying over their rights as former EU citizens to a situation in which they are no longer EU citizens. This specific situation has no precedents as no country has as yet left the EU in the manner proscribed by the triggering of Article 50. If necessary, the argument could easily be clarified via the European Court of Justice, especially as the rights of UK citizens in EU member states is an EU-wide problem and should not have to be negotiated singly with each UK expat host country.

Another interesting point made in the article is that nationals of 88 world countries, including Russia, are accorded via various agreements the same rights as EU citizens whilst they are working in the EU. What, it asks, are the reasons why the UK cannot become the 89th country with such an agreement? The possibility of this has, apparently, never been brought forward for discussion, with agreements of this type being the province of the EU itself rather than its individual member states.

The article raises the question of why the British PM is not aware of these facts or, if she is aware, is ignoring them as she’s committed to the controversial usage of expats’ lives as a bargaining chip during the Brexit negotiations.
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