Monday, November 14, 2016

Become an 'associate member of the European Union'....

An interesting proposal has been tabled for discussion by a Luxembourg MEP Charles Goerens that would offer a form of individual 'associate membership' of the European Union that would enable British citizens for example to retain the rights they enjoyed in Europe before (and if) Brexit goes ahead.

Such rights include free travel within the European Union (without a visa etc), the right to work and settle, and have access to healthcare. This idea echoes recent statements by European legal experts that the British, for example, who moved and settled in France while Britain was still an EU member, have certain 'acquired rights' which cannot be arbitrarily taken away following the Brexit referendum.

There are also many British - don't forget nearly 50% voted to stay - who are bitterly disappointed about the Brexit proposal and wish to retain their links with Europe, whether they actually continue to live in Britain or have settled in another EU country.

It will be interesting to see if this proposal is adopted and how simple or otherwise the process of application. Individual countries have their own rules, in France the process can take up to two years, and the information demanded includes details of your precise status, income etc which some people - such as British State pensioners - might find difficult to to satisfy.

That said, a French 'carte de séjour' has not been required for at least 10 years, so those of us living here may have another 'acquired right' noted above. The number of UK nationals living permanently in other EU states is estimated at over 1 million  - and what about all those other Europeans who have settled in Britain?

Once again a question of 'wait and see' until the British government comes up with firm proposals and their potential consequences.

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