EU: Expert discusses ‘unnecessary barriers’
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British nationals residing in a number of European Union countries have faced increased hardships and increased bureaucracy in the wake of Brexit. In Spain, Britons who were not registered as legal residents prior to the end of the transition period have been restricted to visits of no more than 90 days out of a given 180 day period. Similar issues have affected Britons across the continent who have found their quality of life impacted by new post-Brexit rule changes.
Senior Research Executive at Get Britain Out, Joshua Mackenzie-Lawrie, argued there has been a “vindictive approach” in some European countries towards the plight of UK nationals.
He told Express.co.uk: “People who are living abroad in other countries should follow the rules of where they are, should apply for the citizenship they need to if required.
“But this goes about beyond that, there is a basic principle set out in the Withdrawal Agreement about the rights of people to stay and continue as they had if they fill out the proper paperwork.
“And a lot of these people have filled out the proper paperwork and then sometimes found that they have been rejected even though they have lived in Spain and the countries or France for more than five years.”
He added: “Absolutely, in some EU countries they are applying it very well and there is a seamless transition.
“But it is clear in individual EU countries there is very much a vindictive approach for example you saw when there was the trucker going across to France that had his ham sandwich removed and told to say thanks for Brexit.
“It is that sort of negative approach that had evidently seeped through from the European Union’s approach to negotiations throughout the last five years.
“That has now trickled down into the member states and it is a refusal to have some common sense.”
Brexit: UK removing 'unnecessary EU laws' says expert
Mr Mackenzie-Lawrie also lambasted the EU for not getting “their house in order” over residency rights prior to the end of the transition period.
He told Express.co.uk: “Yes, UK citizens should have any preferential treatment over other third-countries if they all have the same treaties.
“But you also need to have the same treatment and not have them treated lesser than and have those sorts of things implement on them.
“Which is what is happening at the moment people are facing unnecessary barriers increased costs basically because the European Union didn’t get their house in order to get it done in time.”
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Under the Withdrawl Agreement, the residency rights of Brits living in Spain and other EU states prior to January 1 2021 are automatically protected.
The Foreign Office has been encouraging those British nationals who are covered under the agreement to register their residency if they haven’t already done so.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “The rights of UK nationals to continue living, working and studying in their EU Member State are protected by law. Anyone legally resident before 1 January 2021 can stay but should register their residence.
“The UK Government has been running a public information campaign across Europe to inform UK nationals about the actions they may need to take to secure their rights and access to services. This includes outreach events, adverts on social media and in newspapers, and support through our network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates.”
The UK Government has also published Living in Guides providing the latest official information for UK nationals.
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