With London and Brussels reaching a deal on Britain’s departure from the EU, many Britons in France are asking questions about what it means for them in reality, not least do they still need to apply for a residency permit? Here’s a Q&A on some of the main topics.
Should Brits in France be happy with the deal?
Many Brits in France felt divided emotions after the news that a deal had finally been reached between London and Brussels and had passed the first hurdle (if only just) of getting through Theresa May’s divided cabinet.
On the one hand, there is a deal that guarantees most of the rights they have already in France, most importantly the right to stay and work and the right for retirees to have their healthcare covered and their pensions uprated (see link below for more details).
When faced against the prospect of a no-deal which would see all those rights thrown up in the air then it’s clearly a weight off many people’s shoulders.
The prospect of a deal will at least allow people to look ahead and plan and gives until the end of the transition period in December 2020 for Brits hoping to moving to France to do so freely.
But on the other hand some rights have been lost, including onward freedom of movement (see below) and many Brits in France still favour having a people’s vote with the option of remaining rather than this deal.
In other words “it’s not as good as calling the whole thing off”, as one person put it.
Does this mean a no-deal is off the table?
No. Just because Theresa May and her team have reached an agreement with Brussels that has been backed by cabinet, albeit through much resistance from ministers it doesn’t mean Brits in France no longer face the daunting prospect of a no-deal and everything that goes with it.
There’s still a long way for the deal to go, including what appears on the face of it an impossible passage through parliament. If MPs reject the deal, and the numbers speaking out against it suggest that will happen, then given the time frame we could still end up crashing out of Europe on March 29th without a deal.
So all those no-deal warning notices sent out by the British government in the last few months and the bill put forward by the French parliament to allow it to take emergency measures to prevent no deal chaos could still be relevant. Remember too that in the case of no-deal Paris has only promised to protect the rights of Britons if London does likewise for the French in the UK.