In the wake of the Brexit vote, millions of expats around Europe feel insecure about their legal status once Britain leaves the club. As a result expat Brexit negotiations have become a very pressing and complicated matter.
Indeed, guaranteeing migrants’ rights across the EU has been a tough issue so far. Theresa May has been refusing to formally reassure EU expats living in the UK about their rights and status. The prime-minister insisted that she needed to get a reciprocal agreement from the 27 remaining member states first. However, it’s turned out to be quite a challenge with some countries feeling they might have an upper hand in this matter.
In the Brexit white paper the UK government prioritised the expat Brexit problem. They stated clearly that they would like to resolve this issue ahead of the formal negotiations.
‘The UK remains ready to give people the certainty they want and reach a reciprocal deal with our European partners at the earliest opportunity. It is the right and fair thing to do.’
Initially, the British government offered a migrants’ rights deal in December last year. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to discuss the matter. She insisted that there would be no Brexit talks until official negotiations are launched.
Spain Makes a Move to Secure Expat Brexit Deal
Despite the challenges last week saw a positive development in the expat Brexit deal negotiations. Spain – a home for over 3000,000 British expats, expressed an interest in a migrants’ rights agreement with the UK.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy discussed the issue with the prime-minister at the informal EU summit in Malta. He said he wanted an “early agreement” on reciprocal rights for migrants once Britain quits the bloc.
A Downing Street spokesperson said:
“They discussed reciprocal rights and both agreed it was an area it would be good to get an early agreement on”.
The spokesperson also added Spain had not been one of the countries holding back on a reciprocal rights deal.
He said that both leaders agreed it was important “give greater certainty for people and businesses who want to live and work in each other’s countries”.
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