French government translates Brexit site to English

The French government’s information website about the UK's withdrawal from the EU Brexit.gouv.fr has now been translated into English – a useful initiative for the British community though Connexion has concerns concerning the clarity of certain sections.

You can now visit the main French homepage and click EN under the option Vous Etes Britannique (at the top of the page), so as to open a version in English

This complements information available from the UK government, notably at its Living in France page.

From our initial investigations this morning the main sections of French government information for Britons, which originate from several relevant ministries such as the Interior Ministry and Health and Social Security Ministry, have all been translated.

They range for example from notes on driving licences or residency cards, to issues of pensions or social security benefits.

Having said this Connexion notes that some issues we have previously flagged up to the French government and to the British Embassy in Paris with regard to the French version of the website remain in the translated version.

Notably as concerns health and social security, there are question and answer passages that can be read as meaning that in the ‘Brexit deal’ scenario the protection of Britons in France would continue only to the end of the planned transition period to the end of 2020.

Connexion is concerned this could cause some uncertainty as to what would happen after that in the deal scenario.

The negotiated deal by and large aims at maintaining the status quo for Britons who moved to France in good faith under EU free movement before Brexit (though they would still need to apply for and obtain cartes de séjour to benefit).

The deal therefore provided that the relevant protections would continue for life for those Britons who were established as residents in France by the end of 2020 – not that their rights would only continue until then.

We have pointed this out to the Health and Social Security ministry this morning and will be raising it with the embassy again.

ABOVE: Part of the French government's website, concerning pensioners' healthcare rights under the deal or no-deal scenarios

If there is a no-deal Brexit the provisions of the deal, including a transition period, will fall away, however in the meantime they remain relevant.

The Johnson government continues to assert that it is still aiming at agreeing the deal, albeit with changes to the provisions about the border of Northern Ireland and Ireland which are considered unacceptable by the current government and which were also not accepted by a majority of MPs when previous prime minister Theresa May sought to have the deal ratified by Parliament.

The British in Europe campaign coalition for Britons' rights takes the view that the protections in the deal are much preferable to the no-deal scenario despite being less favourable than retaining EU citizenship.

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