The current state of preparations by individual EU-27 and EEA countries to secure the continued rights of British citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario are in the majority well advanced. However, there is significant variation from country to country, with little consistency in approach between them.
Amongst most of the Member States there exists a clear willingness to secure British citizens’ rights post-Brexit within their borders, with no country making an outright declaration against such a move. What is also clear from an analysis of the individual approaches by the EU-27 is that since the apparent rejection of the negotiated UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement by the UK House of Commons, EU27 preparations for a no-deal have accelerated across the spectrum.
Current statistics reveal that by far the most applications for European citizenship being made by UK nationals in 2017 were made in Germany, with 7,493 applications. This is despite the almost 300,000-strong population of UK nationals living in Spain (where only 48 UK applications were made to the Spanish Government regarding citizenship in 2017). France (1,518 applications), Belgium (1,381), and Sweden (1,203), make up second, third and fourth place, respectively.
Whilst the preparations of EU-27 members are ongoing and at varying degrees of readiness, the clear approach of the majority of the Member States (especially France) is that their potential guarantees to UK citizens in a post-Brexit, no-deal outcome are strongly based on a ‘spirit of reciprocity’ from the UK Government. Indeed, as indicated by current UK Government advice concerning the no-deal Brexit scenario, this reciprocity to secure the rights of EU citizens in the UK is secured politically.
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