The French Senate is in the process of reviewing legislation giving the French government powers to legislate as required for the UK’s exit from the European Union. It highlights the differences between the deal/no-deal/post transition scenarios.
In English this means that France has finally had enough of the UK’s shenanigans and is making the necessary preparations so that it can change French law in order to mitigate Brexit.
This Projet de Loi is causing quite a stir with some people, it is being reported that UK citizens will become illegal immigrants on Brexit day…
This is not what is being said. The bill seeks to minimise the damage that the UK is insisting on inflicting not only on itself but on its citizens in the EU27 countries and more precisely France itself. Would that the UK government should adopt that same standpoint!
It concentrates on UK citizens working, living, studying in France but makes no mention of UK citizens in the UK who own property, businesses or work cross border into France.
Nor does it identify the myriad of other issues such as whether you can elect to have UK or French law apply to your will or whether there is a higher rate of capital gains tax for non-EU citizens on second homes.
Whatever it is, the bill is far from saying what will happen, it also makes it very clear that there will be reciprocity between measures taken in France and those the UK government applies to French citizens in the UK.
The French government will also be complying with applicable EU law, including the treatment of long-term-resident Third Country Nationals, and the principles of acquired rights and reasonable expectation under EU and International law.
The bill (and the associated impact analysis) addresses points where Brexit will change the way in which EU law will apply or cease to apply in France, and some of the ramifications of what a no-deal Brexit or a Brexit that does not keep the UK inside the single market/ customs union will mean.
The only respect in which it could be seen as threatening is the way in which it links treatment of UK citizens in France to treatment of French citizens in the UK. If the UK sticks to its current stance, this should not make life harder for UK citizens in France.
The bill’s purpose is to set the stage for the legislation which may be necessary for the French government to take up the slack (admittedly there’s a lot of room for interpretation in what that means).
Furthermore, it is pointed out that the social, financial, economic, administrative, equality and youth consequences will be looked into at a later date (this will presumably influence the French government’s response, as will how the UK treats French citizens).
Even with the French government’s conservative and optimistic estimations of numbers of UK citizens, living, working, studying and visiting France, huge segments of the country and the French administration would be left “in the lurch” if they all became “illegal immigrants” overnight. This is what the proposed legislation seeks to avoid.
We will not become Martians overnight, we will become third country nationals, many of whom currently live happily and successfully in France and have rights under French, EU and International law, even though those rights are less than we, as EU citizens, currently enjoy.
So all in all the French Government is considering what the problems would be in order to figure out what it should do in response. Whatever they are likely to do, we should not bite the hand that is trying to help us.
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Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.