Britons' rights a 'postcode lottery' in no-deal Brexit

The rights of Britons living abroad in the EU would become a kind of ‘postcode lottery’ in a no-deal Brexit making a no-deal ‘significantly worse’ for Britons than an exit with a deal.

This was the message that campaigners from the British in Europe (BiE) group gave MPs in the House of Commons’ Brexit select committee yesterday adding that Britons would face being treated differently in each of the 27 EU countries.

They said they would therefore “absolutely not recommend a no-deal Brexit”.

Britons abroad in the EU have less clarity than EU citizens abroad in the UK as a result, the campaigners said, and some EU countries have so far put no specific legislation in place on British people’s no-deal Brexit rights.

This is not the case in France but a BiE representative for France, Kalba Meadows, said one complication in France is that the French no-deal legislation says Britons rights under the French no-deal laws may be called into question if there is not reciprocity by the UK (ie. if French people in the UK do not obtain equivalent rights).

What is more the French legislation lumps together Britons’ rights and French no-deal plans on transport of people and goods between France and the UK.

Reading the French laws strictly, they suggest that if the UK was to fail to allow French transport firms the same access to the UK as British ones in France, then rules on Britons’ rights in France could be suspended.

“It’s extremely worrying for British citizens in France,” Ms Meadows said.

Select committee chairman Hilary Benn, a Labour MP, said that sounded “a bit unreasonable”.

One BiE representative, Jeremy Morgan QC, said the problems the 1-2million Britons abroad would face are “not featuring high in the list of topics of discussion” by those in the UK saying Britain should be prepared to leave with no deal.

Mr Benn thanked BiE for having compiled a report on the situation in each country which he said would be extremely useful to the committee.

The hearing is online hereConnexion will be following up on the issues raised, in our August edition. Subscribe before midnight on Friday July 12 to receive a copy at home at this link.

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