‘We are in touching distance of a rights deal’

British Ambassador to France Lord Ed Llewellyn

Connexion put questions to the Bri­tish Ambassador to France LORD ED LLEWELLYN during his recent visit to Nice for one in a series of open forum meetings around the country to hear concerns within the British community

Brexit dominated the meeting with topics including whether UK state pensions will continue to be uprated for Britons in France and whether children of expat families will be able to attend UK universities after Brexit at EU rates and not higher foreign student ones (the ambassador said the latter could not at present be guaranteed). 

He told the audience good progress was being made in the negotiations, especially on expat rights but that neither side was pressing for ‘ring-fencing’ of rights from the rest of the talks. “Both take the approach that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” he said.

This first year as ambassador must have been a whirlwind for you?
Every day is a privilege and honour. It’s an important time for relations be­tween our countries. Brexit negotiations are under way and it’s been a busy year in both countries with the general election and the presidential and parliamentary elections in France.

How did the Nice meeting go?
It was a good turnout – around 130. I’ve had others this year in Lyon, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Tou­louse but this was the first we advertised as an open forum rather than via British associations. We plan to do more. It was a good meeting. I understand the concerns people have and I did my best to answer for the government but it’s also important I hear concerns so I can report them back to London.

What has been the general mood and the key issues?
There’s a ...

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