Confusion remains over British expats’ post-Brexit status in EU

The European Union is yet to give British expats reassurance about their status after the UK leaves the bloc as negotiations hit a wall.

Last week, the UK’s Brexit negotiator Dominic Raab, said: “The government has made clear we will unilaterally protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK in the event of no deal. To the 3 million here, we say: you are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues, we want you to stay.

He asked for a reciprocal acknowledgement from Brussels: “We also now urge the EU and all its member states to step up and give UK citizens on the continent the same reassurances.”

So far, Europe has not said a word about the rights of UK citizens in the EU in a no deal scenario.

Talks between Dominic Raab and chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier faltered on Sunday over what is known as the Irish “backstop”, which could see the UK remaining in the customs union.

“Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open, including the backstop,” Barnier wrote on Twitter.

A joint statement from Downing Street and the Department for Exiting the European Union made clear the Ireland issue was yet to be resolved. “In the last few days UK and EU negotiators have made real progress in a number of key areas. However, there remain a number of unresolved issues relating to the backstop,” the statement said.

The impasse came after signs that a deal was near. According to reports in the media, negotiators had reached the technical outlines of a deal, but Downing Street rejected it as politically untenable.

Time is running out to reach a deal before Britain leaves the EU at the end of March 2019. In the event of a failure to reach a deal, the Bank of England has warned that house prices would crash, businesses fret over chaos at the Channel ports and airlines worry that the agreements that keep planes in the air across Europe would fall away.

So far, Bank of America, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Standard Chartered and Nomura banks/financial groups have announced they are moving their EU headquarters – along with thousands of employees – to Frankfurt from London. Global investment giant BlackRock is moving to Paris.

Goldman Sachs Group and UBS Group will likely follow suit. JP Morgan Chase and HSBC Holdings are headed for Paris.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pedro Gonçalves
Pedro Gonçalves is Financial Correspondent at International Investment.

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