British in Bavaria. Report on Ottobrunn event: “Brexit and what it means for Brits in Bavaria” 19 February 2018
45+ Brits and a few Germans gathered in the Wolf-Ferrari-Haus in Ottobrunn on Monday, 19 February to hear a review of progress on citizens rights in the Withdrawal negotiations and advice on what individuals can do to protect their own interests through and beyond Brexit.
The event was generously supported by the Gemeinde Ottobrunn, who helped with advertising and provided the lecture room free of charge.
David Hole summarised the Brexit negotiations so far, spelling out what “sufficient progress” on citizens rights actually means, i.e. what was agreed in December and what remains to be tackled. He pointed out that the December deal is only provisional because “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” in the Withdrawal negotiations. Citizens´ rights are by no means “done and dusted” as the perception in the UK seems to be, he warned. Also, the risk of a no deal scenario has not gone away.
Encouraging was the fact that broad agreement had been reached in December on the key concerns of pensions and healthcare, said Hole. But important areas affecting people´s lives and livelihoods were far from being resolved, especially onward freedom of movement, future healthcare, cross-border working, continuation of recognition of professional qualifications and family reunion. Different groups of Brits would be affected in different ways, he explained. To illustrate this he itemised the impact on the older, middle and younger generations.
Hole also talked about the transition period, the hostile environment for EU citizens in the UK and applications for permanent residence status post-Brexit (“settled status” in UK, constitutive or declaratory, for EUinUK and for UKinEU).
Ingrid Taylor gave facts and figures on the UK population in Germany – e.g. economically active, highly educated, moved for work. 74% have been here for at least 5 years. After Brexit UK nationals in Germany will become “third-country nationals”, and as things stand so far in the negotiations, continued free movement within the EU27 is not guaranteed. For those involved in international assignments, or wanting to continue an international career in the EU, this may have serious implications, she warned. Currently the best way to maintain free movement rights beyond Brexit – for those who meet the qualifying criteria – is to apply for German citizenship. Other recommendations include talking to employers or the Works Council at an early stage, planning any career moves or career changes carefully, so as to avoid being out of work, between jobs, on benefits or unemployed around the point of Brexit and afterwards during the time when residence permits are being applied for or granted.
As regards family, the need to clarify the citizenship status of children born in Germany to UK nationals was mentioned, and the details on family reunion were discussed (dependent family members, children born after Exit Day, etc.). The situation of students was touched upon. And the importance of ensuring residence is registered (Anmeldung) was emphasised. Other steps that can be taken include: joining in the lobbying campaign to stop Brexit; highlighting your own situation to MPs, MEPs, employers and German politicians; signing the petitions; keeping close track of further developments so as to be able to react if necessary.
Taylor explained the process of applying for German citizenship, urging those who are interested to start soon, as processing times have been up to one year after submission of the application. Some improvement on these times has been seen, but it remains a fact that Munich and the surrounding “Gemeinden” have the longest processing times of the whole of Germany. Importantly, as the current law stands, only those obtaining citizenship before Exit Day will be able to keep their British citizenship – i.e. they become dual nationals. If citizenship is granted after Exit Day, it is likely Brits will have to choose either German or British. Hence the need for speed, Taylor said. Hole assured questioners that once dual status has been obtained, it can be retained: there is no provision under current German law for German citizenship to be revoked, nor will there be a need to choose between the two.
The Süddeutsche reported on the event in the politics section of the SZ 24/25 February: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/landkreismuenchen/brexit-run-auf-den-doppelpass-1.3880548
Discussion of Brexit implications for UK nationals in Germany – British Embassy Berlin, 13/02/2018
On the 13th of February, around 350 Brits met at the British Embassy in Berlin to discuss their fate in the face of Brexit. British in Germany and the British Ambassador hosted the evening, allowing an open discussion on the future status of UK nationals living in Germany. The British Ambassador Sir Sebastian Wood opened the evening with his speech, emphasising the importance of securing citizens’ rights:
Thank you to all those who came to the Embassy last night for a Q&A on Citizens’ Rights hosted by British Ambassador Sir Sebastian Wood. You can hear his summary of progress made so far in securing citizens’ rights by clicking on the video link. Many important issues were raised as well by audience members, including on the process of acquiring dual British and German citizenship and retaining it after Brexit. One other key concern raised was the eligibility of UK nationals to continue to travel and work around the EU. As the Ambassador says, we have pushed strongly for this in Phase One of negotiations and will continue to raise it as negotiations progress. Thank you, too, to those of you who provided questions related to your concerns prior to the discussion evening. Many of the themes are covered in the video. On other questions we will try to reply directly to you. All of the concerns raised will continue to be shared with colleagues in London. You can also leave feedback at https://ow.ly/VyFV30ioONr
Posted by Brits in Germany on Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Posted by FB group ‘Brits in Germany’, 14/02/2018
Photo taken by Laurence Genillard, 13/02/2018
© Paul Samengo-Turner, 13/02/2018
His speech was followed by Jane Golding, Chair of BiE and BiG. Audio recordings from her speech below:
© Laurence Genillard, 13/02/2018
© Paul Samengo-Turner, 13/02/2018
A report on an open meeting with MEP Maria Noichl
Summary (Scroll down below photos for full report):
Bavarian MEP Maria Noichl (SPD) spoke to a packed audience of Brits (and Germans) in Munich on Thursday 11 January. All were eager to hear a report direct from a Member of the European Parliament at this critical juncture in the negotiations. MEPs have both a voice and a vote in stage 2. Maria did not disappoint. In a friendly but forthright Bavarian style, she made it plain that the MEPs regret yet respect the decision of the UK to leave, but that the UK´s departure would not be allowed to threaten the integrity of the EU, nor to water down its four freedoms. She listened carefully to our concerns about the rights of UK citizens in the EU; she sympathised and assured us that the EP is indeed going to continue pushing to resolve the outstanding issues in our favour (continuing FoM for UKinEU, frontier workers etc.), as per the text of the EP Resolution of 13 December 2017: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P8-TA-2017-0490+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
The audience appreciated Maria´s willingness to engage with us and welcomed her acknowledgement that she and her fellow MEPs are indeed representing the interests of British people in Europe, many of whom have no voice or vote in elections and referendums in their own country.
The dialogue with MEPs will continue.
Photos: 1+2, Phil Kindermann, pjayphotos.com. 3 Clive Ashbolt
Full report (David Hole):
British in Bavaria 11.01.2018
Brexit negotiations, content and stage, from the viewpoint of the European Parliament (EP) With Maria Noichl, SPD, MdEP
Principal points of Maria’s talk: She is not directly involved on the committees charged with Brexit. She sits on the committees for agriculture, womens’ rights, development and Africa/Caribbean. The effects of the UK’s departure however reach into the deliberations of these committees. The UK’s contributions in these fields has been significant and will be missed. British MEPs urged their colleagues in the EP not to get involved in the referendum procedure in 2016, for fear of being seen as meddling. The EP recognises that a decision has been taken by the UK to leave the EU and will not undertake anything to change this. However, the feeling in the EP is that a hard line must be taken and maintained in relation to the UK’s withdrawal. There can be no half measures. Completely in or completely out – wer draußen ist, ist drauß’. The four freedoms of the internal market will not be deviated from. The EU is strongly wary of the UK. The EP is resolute, to go the hard way. There will no blackmail and no hostage taking. Gibraltar has not yet even been spoken about. The EP’s resolution of 13th. December 2017, on the position reached in the first stage of withdrawal negotiations, was approved by 550 yes votes, 62 no votes and 68 abstentions. The rights of all citizens are at the very top of the list, but it is unavoidable that this will involve some diminution, i.e some sacrifices and/or collateral damage. A transition period, if agreed, will involve full payment and no vote. Nobody however wants to see the UK done down. It is to be borne in mind that the trade agreement with Canada, possibly favoured now as Canada ++, took seven years to negotiate. There will need to be progress reports. On the day of withdrawal, the UK will be a third state for the EU. EP will remain clear and firm. The EP has no formal role in the negotiations themselves. The result of those negotiations will comprise one packet, to be put before the EP for either approval or rejection. The EP cannot make changes to the packet. What might happen after a possible rejection is not clear. Agreements for the EU are reached in total as a whole, there are no piecemeal provisions. This is how the EU functions. As to the current stage in the negotiations, the bones are there, but there is no meat on them. Citizens’ rights must not be used as extortion. Reciprocity also is not static. Should the UK in future make an alteration to the position reached in the Withdrawal Agreement, then it would have to reckon with a response from the EU.
From the discussion thereafter, in no particular order: The disenfranchisement of British citizens in the EU after Brexit is unjust and the anger that the exclusion from voting generates is understandable, but not something the she can do anything about; She did accept that British citizens in Bavaria are her constituents; There is constant provocation of the EU from Farage & co. The flag waving is in common only with French Front National. She will follow up on freedom of movement for Brits in EU27 after departure, as well as the idea of a form of european citizenship. Love is not always for ever – the EU will need better and clearer procedures in future to regulate how a member state can leave, or be required to leave.
Brexit in Bayern – Information, action and support
A new monthly Meetup group has started in Bavaria, set up by the Munich section of British in Germany. We offer information, action and support for anyone affected by Brexit. Come along and talk about what´s on your mind over a glass of beer. Find out the facts, plan your strategy, discuss the progress of the negotiations.
The first Brexit in Bayern Meetup is on Monday, 7 August.
Subsequent meetups take place on the first Monday of every month.
(See also the Events section of this website)
British in Munich group protest outside talks
[Scroll down for German version / Siehe unten für deutsche Fassung]
A group of about 20 Brits gathered in the pouring rain outside the Bavarian State Chancellery in Munich yesterday (July 26) to express our dissatisfaction about the Brexit negotiations. Inside were Bavaria´s Minister-President Horst Seehofer and David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the EU. What was on the agenda is not known – the press had not been invited and no statement was issued. And the meeting was only announced very shortly before it took place, so the Brits in Munich had little time to get a protest together. The message on their quickly produced posters: Talk to us! Save our EU rights! The UK and EU flags, flying together in the wind, spoke their own language.
Over 18,000 Brits live and work in Bavaria, and so far there has been very little consultation with us, from either the UK or the German authorities on our concerns as regards Brexit. We would welcome an opportunity – in the dry – to present our views in person.
Bei strömendem Regen versammelte sich eine Gruppe von bis zu 20 Briten gestern vor der bayerischen Staatskanzlei, um ihrem Unmut über die Brexitverhandlungen Luft zu lassen. Drinnen saßen Ministerpräsident Seehofer und David Davis, Britischer Minister für den Austritt Großbritanniens aus der EU, zu einem nicht öffentlichen und sehr kurzfristig angekündigten Besuch. Die Botschaft auf den Plakaten der versammelten britischen Bürger in Bayern: Reden Sie mit uns! 18.000 Briten leben und arbeiten in Bayern, und sie sehen ihre EU-Rechte in Gefahr. Die hoch gehaltenen Flaggen sprachen eine unmißverständliche Sprache – sie wollen in der EU bleiben. Die Gruppe erweckte die Aufmerksamkeit der vielen vorbeifahrenden Autofahrer, die ihre Unterstützung mit lautem Hupen signalisierten. Der Gast aus Westminster und der Ministerpräsident haben den Protest sicherlich auch bemerkt, und die Briten hoffen nun auf eine baldige Einladung ins Trockene, wo sie ihre Sorgen und Ängste näher besprechen können.
One week after publication of the UK’s disappointing policy paper on citizens’ rights, an audience of 52 Brits in Munich quizzed the HM Consul-General for southern Germany on the UK’s position. Here’s our report on the evening, which contains direct quotes from the C-G.
On 12 June, following the UK General elections, Munich-based Brits got together in true Bavarian style, to discuss the surprising result. Hope was high that the results now mark at least a change in the tone of the debate, if not (yet) in actual direction.
Notes were also compared on citizenship applications, UK pensions and the impact on careers.