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Not much progress

There was the referendum result and the shocked reaction that followed it. There was the attempt to invoke Article 50 without an Act of Parliament. There was the challenge to that approach in the courts, resulting in the ruling by the Supreme Court of the UK that the decision to invoke Article 50 did require an Act of Parliament (surprise, surprise). There was the Prime Minister's Mansion House speech. There was the actual delivery of notification that the UK was invoking Article 50. And there were five rounds of official negotiation talks, and the Prime Minister's Florence speech sandwiched in between rounds 3 and 4.

But not much that you could call progress.

The British in France, and indeed UK citizens throughout all EU27 countries, are none the wiser as to what their status will be after midnight on Brexit Day, 29 March 2019.

The clock continues to tick away, and if there is no UK/EU agreement on citizens' rights, we shall all become des sans papiers - undocumented aliens - in our respective countries of residence, with the risk of losing recognition in those countries of our professional qualifications, losing pension rights accumulated by our working in different member states, and, for pensioners in France who spent all their working lives in the UK, the risk of losing essential healthcare rights under the S1 system.

After each round of talks, the EU and the UK jointly publish a summary of the situation, subject area by subject area. The successive summaries of the talks can be seen here : [ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/joint-technical-note-on-the-comparison-of-eu-uk-positions-on-citizens-rights]. Look out for the red, yellow or green fields on the right-hand side, and especially the yellow and red fields which indicate where more progress is needed.

Of course, the negotiations also cover a multitude of trade-related areas. But sadly the UK media tend not to go into the detail of what the consequences of "no deal" would be, on industries as varied as civil aviation, cross-channel road haulage, food imports and exports, live animal movements (including cattle, pigs, horses and pets), motor and aeroplane manufacturing, bulk chemicals and pharmaceuticals. You can get more information about the technical and legal issues at stake in all these industries at www.eureferendum.com.

Clearly, it cannot be said that "no deal" would be better than a bad deal. "No deal" would be an extremely bad and dangerous deal for all of us. It isn't like buying a Persian carpet in a bazaar: walk away, and the status quo merely resumes. The carpet seller keeps his carpet and you keep your money. But walk away from negotiations with the EU, and the status quo does not resume. Instead, you plunge the country and its people into chaos.

Meanwhile, British in Europe [www.britishineurope.org], British which represents the interests of UK citizens living in other EU member states (and of which the Community Committee of France is a member) continues the fight, with regular meetings with the Department for Exiting the EU in London and EU institutions in Brussels, and lobbying of MPs and Lords. Click here [BiEnewsletter161017.pdf ] to learn more about what British in Europe is doing to defend the citizenship rights of UK citizens across the continent.

At the end of September, the BCC wrote to the President of the French Republic and has since received a reply saying that our letter has been referred to the French Foreign Minister.

The BCC and BCC member ECREU were represented at the oral evidence session on 18 October of the enquiry into reciprocal healthcare at the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee, by Christopher Chantrey and Roger Boaden, both of whom are on the Steering Committee of British in Europe. To watch the session, click here [http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/77770a69-3bd8-4a5f-b32a-458e15009989].

We'll report further on significant developments and achievements, as and when, on the British in France Facebook page BritishCommunityInFrance [https://www.facebook.com/BritishCommunityInFrance] and on Twitter as BritishInFrance@British_France [https://twitter.com/British_France]. Follow us there!

 


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