The answer is absolutely nothing! Reaction to the deal agreed between the UK and the EU from British citizens living in Europe (UKinEU) has been understandably cool.
The four and a half years of negotiations have devoted little time to the needs of the 3 million EU citizens in UK (UKinEU) and the 1.3 million UKinEU.
The grassroots organisation, British in Europe, has issued a strong statement decrying the deal as reneging on promises that the lives of UKinEU “would continue as they had always done and that we would not lose rights”.
The statement also makes the point that:
“A deal has been done but it does not and cannot replace the enormous and life-changing benefits of EU membership and citizenship that we have enjoyed since 1973.”
As one British citizen in Munich says:
“It is all the more galling that as British citizens, our government has spent considerably more effort on the UK fishing industry, which employs only 12,000 people, whereas there are over 1.3 million British people living in Europe. That’s more than 100 times more UK citizens living in Europe than UK fishermen!”
The deal was not expected to produce any protection of rights for UK citizens in the EU since the rights of EU citizens in the UK were severely eroded by the passing of the Immigration Bill in November 2020. So what hope was there for Brits in Europe?
This trade deal covered only a few residual aspects related to citizens’ rights. The Withdrawal Agreement, which came into force at the end of January 2020, secured the minimum basic rights of UKinEU and EUinUK such as continued right of residence and work in the host country. But neither deal has preserved the EU citizenship of UKinEU and the freedom of onward movement that those Brits signed up to when they moved to the EU. EUinUK, by contrast, retain full freedom of movement in the EU by virtue of their nationality.
Like so many others, your Editor spent most of his working life in one EU country or another helping companies produce high quality cheap goods for consumption across the world. One typical contract was integrate the IT systems of an international brewer in Germany across Europe. This involved a weekly commute from Yorkshire to Bremen via Amsterdam. This sort of service will be virtually impossible for a UK citizen to provide after the end of this year.
So our government has ignored the voice of British citizens in Europe who have contributed so much to the prosperity of Europe including of course the UK itself. The free movement of goods is assured but that of people has been sacrificed in this deal.
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