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In the lead up to the general election and the start of formal Brexit negotiations in June, the EU Council of Ministers has outlined part of its negotiating position.  Their announcement this week relates particularly to the rights of UK nationals living in EU countries.  Their opening stance is that if you are living in France (or any other EU country) before the UK formally leaves the EU in March 2019, then your right to live there permanently will be protected. 

 

The EU sent a clear message that they wish to formally establish its desire to guarantee status and rights to British citizens living in the EU.  So long as the UK agrees to protect the rights of EU citizens living in Britain, which Teresa May has repeatedly said she will do.  This would mean British citizens would be free to live in France with access to healthcare, pensions, education and employment without the need for visas or other restrictions for the foreseeable future.

 

It seems clear that citizens’ rights are at the top of the agenda as the EU said that the reciprocal rights and status of British and EU citizens should be a key priority in all future negotiations.  The Ministers particularly singled out the protection of pension and healthcare rights but also education and social security and insist that these rights should be freely available in any EU country to British and EU citizens, just as they are for a host country’s own nationals.

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