Sajid Javid has today accused Brussels of neglecting the post-Brexit rights of UK ex-pats living in Europe, saying that the EU’s preparations are “not good enough.”
The home secretary, who has been in his role since the end of April, has called upon EU countries to publish more concrete details on how UK nationals living across the European Union will be able to secure their status after Brexit.
The British Government this afternoon published its scheme for European citizens remaining in the UK after Brexit, saying there will be the need to answer three “simple” questions online if they want to continue living in the UK.
The default position of the British Government will be to grant, not refuse, settled status. People will be asked to prove their ID, whether they have criminal convictions and whether they live in the UK.
The newly announced scheme, will operate online and via a smartphone app and would be “as simple as people can reasonably expect”, with most decisions turned around within two weeks or sooner, according to Mr Javid.
According to the Home Secretary, there would have to be a “very good reason” why such an application would be refused.
However, the same rights do not seem to be afforded to British citizens living in EU countries.
The European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt MEP, who was in London for talks with government ministers and to appear before two committees of MPs, admitted in a meeting with the Home Office that the EU27 had not done enough to set out what the procedures will be for ex-pat Britons living across the EU.
Such an admission contradicts the citizens’ rights agreement with Brussels which was agreed to in December and guaranteed the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in EU member states.
Additionally, such an admission does little to quell the belief that the EU is more determined to punish the UK rather than deliver results for its citizens.
Whilst many point to the UK for not being prepared for Brexit, it would seem that the shoe is on the other foot. The EU needs to be less focussed on political games, accept that the UK is leaving and prepare to deliver for those that Brexit will impact.