EuroCitizens meet in Madrid sets out human cost of Brexit

Published:  30 May at 6 PM
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Last week’s EuroCitizens round table meetup in Madrid told it like it is right now for UK citizens living in the EU.

The March agreement between the opposing UK and EU Brexit negotiators means the post-Brexit rights of Britons living in EU member states are to be severely curtailed. British in Europe steering group member and EuroCitizens chair Michael Harris reported on the situation to date, how this has happened and what protest groups can do during the months preceding ratification.

Basically, should a Brexit deal be finally reached, the right to remain for British citizens living, retiring and working in Europe will be protected after the transition period ends, but from the end of March 2019 their European citizenship will have been withdrawn along with their political rights. It’s not yet settled whether the registration of UK expats in their chosen EU countries will mirror the existing processes for citizens of the EU or face more complicated procedures via application for a new status similar to the ‘settled status’ the UK is granting to EU expats.

Coordination of social security has also been agreed in principle, meaning schemes such as healthcare coverage and aggregated pensions for UK retirees would continue. However, the important rights of family reunification for future spouses and the right to return to the host country after an absence of more than five years will be disallowed. As a result, non-EU and EU partners will need to comply with UK immigration rules should they wish to live in the UK.

Most importantly, all UK citizens living in EU member states will lose the right to free movement across the Eurozone and will be treated as third-country nationals by immigration offices. In addition, UK qualifications will no longer be valid and the right to provide services in EU member states as well as the right to work will be denied. Students wishing to continue studying in EU member states will also be affected. Only those who qualify as ‘frontier workers’ – those who live in one state and work in an adjoining state, returning to their home state daily or weekly, as do many living on Gibraltar and working in Spain – will be allowed free movement across EU state borders.
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