• Austria's news in English
Brexit would leave expats in 'ghastly' legal limbo for years
Photo: Paul Lloyd/FLickr

Brexit would leave expats in 'ghastly' legal limbo for years

The Local · 4 May 2016, 10:50

Published: 04 May 2016 10:50 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The conclusions of the committee will only heighten the fears expressed by many British citizens living in the EU that Brexit would see them lose their fundamental rights and that it may take years of painful wrangling before they regain them.

Lawmakers from the 19-member House of Lords European Union Committee are due to release a report of their findings on Wednesday after hearing the expert analysis of two senior lawyers familiar with the legal wranglings of the EU.

The committee's chair, the Conservative MP Lord Boswell of Aynho said: “The rights of some two million UK citizens living abroad would need to be determined, as would the rights of a similar number of EU citizens living in the UK.

“This is complex stuff – you are talking about the right to residence, to healthcare and to schooling, about maintenance payments and access to children, about research projects and contracts that cross borders, sorting all this out would be a daunting task.”

In his evidence to the committee Professor Derick Wyatt QC, a professor in law at Oxford University said: “It is estimated that two million Brits live in other EU countries. Take elderly people who have lived for 10 years in Spain. After five years, they acquired a right of permanent residence as citizens of the union and that includes access to the Spanish healthcare system.

“If we leave, what do we do about vested rights. Do we recognise rights to permanent residents that have arisen? What transitional rights do we give someone who has been working in the UK for for years and has children at school and so forth?

“Let us not forget that for every example in the UK, there is an example of a UK citizen elsewhere.

We expats didn't abandon the UK so ALL of us deserve the vote

“My guess is that the inclination of the government and parliament would be to be generous as regards those who had already made their lives in the UK, knowing that it would be likely to be reciprocated.”

Lawmakers in British parliament’s upper house stressed that successfully renegotiating the rights of the two million Britons living in the EU as well as future trade deals would be a “complex and daunting task”.

EU rules place a legal limit of two years on post-Brexit negotiations, but the report warns that any agreements between Britain and other member states would likely take far longer to thrash out given the countless obstacles that would lie in the way.

“The long-term ghastliness of the legal complications is almost unimaginable,” Sir David Edward, a former judge at the European Union Court of Justice told the House of Lords committee.

Story continues below…

He is not the only EU legal expert who has raised concerns about rights of Britons in a post Brexit EU and how live will inevitably get more complicated.

In an interview with The Local George Peretz, a QC specialising in EU and public law said: “The principle of EU law means that every Brit living or owning property elsewhere in the EU has a vast range of legal rights: to work, to run a business, to buy property, to live where they like, to use public services such as health, to pay no more taxes than locals, to vote in local elections and so on.

“Depending on the final outcome of any post-Brexit deal, all of those rights could vanish if the UK leaves the EU.

In short Brexit would throw everything into the air and we don’t know where or how it will all land.” 

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
ECJ puts brakes on deportation of Iraqi family
Photo: ORF

An Iraqi family threatened with deportation has been granted a brief reprieve after the European Court of Justice recommended they be allowed to stay in Austria for the time being.

Flats evacuated after man swallows explosive substance
A decontamination squad was ordered in. Photo: MA 68 Lichtbildstelle

A block of flats in Vienna had to be evacuated after a suicidal resident swallowed a highly toxic and explosive substance.

'Horror clown' threatens bus driver in Vienna's Donaustadt
Pennywise, the original scary clown from the movie It. Photo: Warner Bros

A man disguised as a ‘horror clown’ threatened a bus driver in Vienna’s Donaustadt district and vandalised the bus.

Man lived with body of murdered lover for weeks

A man has been arrested in Graz after police discovered the body of his girlfriend hidden in the shower cubicle of their rented apartment.

Austrian far-right leader brands Merkel 'dangerous'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party has branded Angela Merkel Europe's most dangerous politician.

Austria 'horror clown' attacks leave several injured
Clown performers are not happy about the negative media stories. Photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

Several people have been injured in attacks by masked assailants dressed as 'creepy clowns' in the lead-up to Halloween.

Brunnenmarkt murder 'could have been prevented'
Locals remember the murdered woman. Photo: Wien Caritas

The random murder of a woman in Vienna could have been prevented if the homeless and mentally disturbed man who killed her had been admitted to a psychiatric institution.

Iraqi family ask ECJ to help them stay in Austria
Kumberg locals hold a vigil for the family. Photo: ORF

A group of people from Kumberg in Styria have asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for help in trying to stop the deportation of an Iraqi family.

The Local List
Five things you need to know about winter tyres
Photo: carmagazine.co.uk

It’s that time of year when temperatures start to plunge and drivers are advised to switch to winter tyres to avoid being caught out by snow and ice on the roads.

Radioactive uranium rocks on display in Austrian schools
Uraninite crystals. Photo: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com/Wikimedia

Education officials have carried out urgent checks in schools across the country after one of the stones on display in a classroom turned out to be radioactive.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available