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Why can I no longer order Remembrance Day items to France from UK?

We look at what has changed with regards to Royal British Legion orders to the EU and what your options are if you live in France

We look at how people in France can access Remembrance Day items Pic: Paul Daniels / Shutterstock

Reader Question: Why does Brexit mean we cannot order a cross with the UK Poppy Shop for delivery to France? We have laid a cross at our commune’s November 11 commemoration for years

The Royal British Legion (RBL) has stated that it is no longer possible for it to sell poppies and other commemorative objects to people living in EU countries because of a “change in the VAT status of such sales as a result of new EU regulations”. 

This has been the case since summer 2021 and the removal of a previous import VAT exemption for items worth less than €22 ordered online from outside the EU.

An RBL spokesperson said: “Goods sold by our online Poppy Shop to consumers in the EU are subject to the local rate of VAT and customs fees from July 1, 2021. 

“These costs are often higher than the value of the goods themselves and to pass them on to customers is not reasonable, therefore regrettably we are ceasing sales to customers in countries in the EU until such time as that legislation is reviewed.” 

However, the RBL’s distribution of items for sale to the EU is not affected and so although you can no longer order from the UK, it is still possible to buy poppies and other remembrance items within France. 

To do this, you can contact the closest RBL regional branch to you. 

Read more: How to buy a Remembrance Day poppy in France – or a bleuet

Details for the Lyon branch can be found here, for the Brittany branch here, for the Nice-Monaco branch here, for the Nord-Pas-de-Calais branch here, for the Somme branch here and for the Bordeaux branch here

Brittany’s Poppy Appeal organiser Catherine Curtis also told The Connexion, that she is happy to send poppies, crosses, wreaths, enamel poppies and bleuets all over France. Her email is kissmekate1@orange.fr.

The Poppy Appeal Organiser for the RBL’s Nice-Monaco’s branch, Elaine Dempster Baverstock, said that she can provide poppies but that at this stage orders for other items would now have to be for next year. She advised contacting the RBL directly for further information. 

She added that the RBL places poppy trays and donation tins in churches, shops, offices and other venues which have a British link along the local coast. Her email address is: ladyskipper@free.fr

Poppies will also be on sale at various events held around France in association with Royal British Legion branches. 

It has come to light, meanwhile, that commemorative items in the le bleuet de France cornflower range (France's equivalent of the poppy), cannot now be sent to the UK, despite them being sent to almost every other country in the world. The organisation's online shop stated this is because post-Brexit there are "too many customs constraints and extra costs".

Read more: Le Bleuet de France - origins of the French cornflower tradition

Related articles 

British Legion in France widens remit as Poppy Appeal picks up pace

11 things to know about Armistice Day, November 11, in France

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