The European Commission has come under fire from British citizens living in the EU27 after having been left out of the Brexit legal advice scheme.
Some numbers from France on why the European Commission refusing to provide any dedicated local legal support for British citizens residing in the EU (who are, by the way, still EU citizens!) matters. Particularly in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
There are an estimated 150,000 British citizens living in France. I say ‘estimated’ because France is like Britain and doesn’t require EU citizens to register. Many are trying to get permanent residence (carte de séjour) in case there is a ‘no deal’ and therefore no agreement on citizens’ rights.
There are five (yes, only five!) Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff dedicated to providing consular support for the citizens’ rights aspect of Brexit. That is five FCO for the entire EU 27 member states or 1.3 million British citizens living in the EU27 (yes, I know, many of them are taking a new nationality, but it is still a tiny number of staff to help the rest!).
The person who covers France is great. But she is ‘one person’ and she also covers Belgium and Luxembourg. British citizens in France would need ten of her in their own right.
There are backlogs in many French Préfecture (the civil servants are lovely, but overwhelmed). Many Brits also don’t have the right papers to apply for the carte de séjour because they never thought they would have to get one in the first place!
Author Alison Morton has more to say on what she rightly describes as “a process of several weeks of anxiety, research, much digging, sorting and photocopying, all the result of an ill-advised vote in June 2016.” Read it here.
Our French members @RemainInFrance reported 45,000 citizens’ rights/residency interactions in their Facebook group in the past 28 days alone! They are a network of volunteers and they are plugging gaps that the British government and the European Commission could, and should be helping with.
We love our European Citizens friends at The3Million and think they should get as much support and dedicated legal advice as possible. But British citizens living in the EU27 would like to be included too. Otherwise, it is simply discrimination by the European Commission.🔷
Tweet this story now:
(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)