Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The loss of our EU passport

One of the great benefits of Britain’s EU membership is that it allows Britons to work and reside in other countries across our continent.

That right is scheduled to be lost when Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

Our burgundy UK passports, embossed with ‘European Union’ on the front, currently give us the right to reside, work, study or retire across the entire European Union plus Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

But Brexiters apparently can’t wait for our passports to turn from burgundy to blue, and to lose the EU symbol on the front and all that it represents. (Although our UK passports were never really blue in the past: they were black).

Our new blue British passports will give us the privilege of enduring longer queues at border controls when visiting EU/EEA member states after Brexit.

That will be fun, won't it?

Our new blue passports will also mean we will NOT have any guaranteed rights to live, work or study across our continent.

So much for progress.

Up to now, millions of Britons have taken advantage of our EU citizenship rights, mostly to work in other EU countries, but also to study, retire and buy holiday homes and residences.

Without EU membership, going to live and work in other EU countries will still be possible, but it won’t be a ‘right’, so it won’t be as easy as now, and in many cases, it simply won’t be achievable.

Before the EU, British citizens most often had to apply for work and residency visas to live in other European countries.

Nostalgia beckons. Those times are soon to return.

Maybe Britons won't mind more bureaucracy when wanting to move to another EU country.

Our EU citizenship rights also mean that when we live and work in any other EU country, we can enjoy many of the same rights as the citizens of that country, including the right to access state healthcare and education, and to vote in local and European Parliament elections.

Not to worry. We will also lose those rights after Brexit.

Losing the right to free movement to live and work across our continent will be a HUGE LOSS when Brexit happens, scheduled for 11pm on 29 March 2019.

It's no surprise that many Britons living in the rest of Europe, and many citizens from the rest of Europe now living in Britain, are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the Brexit negotiations to know for sure what will be their rights after Brexit.

Theresa May says in her Christmas message not to worry, everything will be fine. But she also says that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

Which means, of course, that nothing so far has been agreed.

What we do know for sure is that Brexit means losing EU citizenship rights, that took decades to achieve.

Will it be a case of only appreciating those rights when we no longer have them?
Other articles by Jon Danzig:

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