Confusion and chaos follow Friday expat rights deal

Confusion and chaos follow Friday expat rights deal

Confusion and chaos follow Friday expat rights deal

The collective sigh of relief uttered by Theresa May and the EU negotiators last Friday turned into a groan of ‘oh, no, not again’ after David Davis’s poorly thought out comments on Sunday.

Many British and EU expats’ relief that at least their plight had been recognised were stunned to find campaign groups rejecting the Friday agreement as ‘the worst ever’. To be fair, it's possible the initial text of the printed agreement stating ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ brought back the uncertainty and fear felt by many expats up until now, but the statement is certainly not the end of the story.

At the same time, European Parliament liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt demanded guaranteed future residency and free movement for UK expats in the EU before his party can give the green light to the actual withdrawal agreement. In addition, any bill brought by the UK parliament guaranteeing citizens rights can, it seems, be overturned in the future by Westminster. As for the thorny issue of the Irish border, no-one seems to have any concrete solutions as yet.

Expats on both sides of the fence might well consider the last 18 months’ shenanigans as a total waste of time, not to mention money. Bremain in Spain’s Sue Wilson joined in British in Europe’s leader’s condemnation of the Friday agreement, saying her group didn’t anticipate the EU’s recommendation that enough had been done to allow a move to Phase 2 of the divorce talks. Perhaps she didn’t appreciate the need to at least get a handle on possible trade relationships between the UK and EU as she was concentrating on the plight of the expats she represents, or maybe she just enjoys pouring cold water on peoples’ need to have at least faint hopes of a viable future.

In a report published by the Olive Press, Wilson suggests the UK and EU have ‘lowered the bar’ as regards sufficient progress on citizens’ rights, rather than at least giving some assurance the expat dilemma is on the minds of those in high places. In reality, it's more than May on her own was prepared to do, and the bargaining is in no way over yet. According to chief negotiator Michel Barnier, there’s more work to be done in clarifying and consolidating Friday’s agreement.

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