Category Archives: British in Germany

Latest on UK in Germany Post-Transition Status

Update on British in Germany’s behind the scenes work regarding the future status of UK citizens in Germany

 

 Despite both the impact of Covid-19 and the lack of progress on a future trade deal between the EU and the UK, the British in Germany e.V. advocacy team has continued high level discussions and negotiations with German authorities at both national and regional levels about the future status of UK citizens in Germany. This has included face-to-face meetings with representatives of Berlin, NRW and Bavaria.  For the the last three years we have continued to push hard for a declaratory or registration system rather than a constitutive or application system, and had intensified our lobbying on this once it was clear that the UK would leave the EU with a Withdrawal Agreement.

 On 24th March 2020, the Bundesministerium des Inneren (BMI – equivalent of the UK Home office) published a Gesetzentwurf (draft law) describing how Germany proposes to enact the Withdrawal Agreement rights of UK citizens after the end of the Transition period.

 British in Germany e.V. have been invited to give formal input on this draft. Our “Stellungnahme(position paper) has been prepared by the legal professionals in our Verein for submission to the BMI. Although this Gesetzentwurf is not a final version of the law and may be modified during the review stages, we want to give you some insight into the current thinking of the German government and our view of the present position.

 The Gesetzentwurf is basically about providing relevant documentation to confirm our rights to remain in Germany and to continue living here – as we have done up till now.  The Gesetzentwurf uses the term “Alt-Briten” to describe us, as opposed to “Neu-Briten” which refers to UK citizens who arrive in Germany after the end of the Transition period.  Some form of document will be needed to show that we are “Alt-Briten” with rights covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. 

 The proposed law suggests that Germany should adopt, as standard, an approach known as “declaratory”. If passed into law, this would mean that the rights of all those registered and living in Germany at the end of the Transition period would be considered confirmed. The process would then require visiting the local Ausländerbehörde (Foreigner’s Office) to register and be issued with an individual document (Aufenthaltsdokument) to confirm these rights. Those who already have a Daueraufenthaltsbescheinigung-EU (Certificate of the right of permanent residence for EU citizens) would be able to swap this for the new document.

This appears to be very good news and is something that British in Germany e.V. has worked tirelessly to advocate – to have a declaratory or registration system and not a constitutive or application system which would require some form of application to secure our individual rights.  It is especially good news because the UK and a number of other EU countries have opted for a constitutive or application system, requiring citizens to apply for their status under the Withdrawal Agreement before the authorities will grant their individual rights.

This is particularly positive since indications were that Germany intended to take that more complicated ‘constitutive’ option, which would require a lot more bureaucratic work and risk some “Alt-Briten” falling through the cracks. We firmly believe that from the perspective of UK citizens in Germany, the declaratory or registration approach is by far the best option. Thanks to input from our members, we’ve had lots of case studies to back up our points in face-to-face discussions with the German authorities and as a basis for extensive written input. We have also been able to argue, with strong evidence, that this approach is the best option for the German authorities. It has been clear that our inputs and views were valued and taken seriously. Based on the meetings we’ve had with several of the Länder where large numbers of British citizens live, and exchanges with contacts in the Bundestag, we believe that our analysis and input really did make a difference.

 We have some further thoughts, proposals and questions that we have included in our Stellungnahme to the BMI and we will let you know when our input is published.

 Who is covered by the Withdrawal Agreement?

If you are a UK citizen and resident in Germany on the final date of the Transition period (currently 31st December 2020), the Withdrawal Agreement accords you rights. Your partner and dependents may also be accorded rights as a result of yours. For more information on the Withdrawal Agreement and what rights it covers (https://britishineurope.org/)

 More information on Germany’s Gesetzentwurf

If you are interested to look at the actual text of the Gesetzentwurf, you can find it here. Health warning: it is written in quite ‘technical’ German legal form and covers not only the position of UK citizens but also some other changes which Germany wishes to include in its law on EU citizens’ rights.

https://www.bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/gesetzgebungsverfahren/DE/entwurf-eines-gesetzes-zur-aktuellen-anpassung-des-freizuegigkeitsgesetzes.html

British in Germany e.V. 

April 2020

 

Covid 19 Virus update

The British in Germany e.V. National Steering Committee have consulted on Friday 13th March on the implications of the Covid 19 virus spread in Germany.  They agreed to put out the following statement.   Any questions or queries from members –  don’t hesitate to contact info(at)britishingermany.org

“In line with the recommendations being made by experts, the German Minister for Health and the Chancellor, British in Germany  e.V. is suspending all physical meetings including Stammtische and is asking its members not to participate in any further face to face BiG events until further notice.”

Embassy Facebook Live Q+A

The British Embassy will be holding another Facebook Live event, giving you a chance to get a direct answer to any Brexit-related questions you might have. The event will take place on the British Embassy Facebook page next Monday (21st of October) at 18:00-19:30. Any questions submitted during this time will receive an answer by Friday 25th at the latest.

BiG will also be monitoring the event. If you are unable to join at that time or would like to ask a question anonymously, you can submit it to us at info@britishingermany.org, and we will post it for you.

People’s Vote March, Saturday 19th Oct

British in Europe will be marching in London this Saturday alongside the3million at the People’s Vote March. If you’re going to be in London this weekend, please come along to the march and support us! Feel free to join our WhatsApp group created for the event to stay updated.

We will be meeting by the M&S outside of Green Park Tube Station at 12 noon (take the Piccadilly exit– the M&S is located on the corner of Stratton Street and Piccadilly).

BiG will also be taking part in solidarity events in Berlin and Hannover on Saturday. Have a look here to learn more about the march happening in Berlin, and here for the rally in Hannover, which is in partnership with Volt Germany.

Wherever you are, if you want to support us on Saturday via social media, remember to use the hashtags #CitizensRights and #the5Million alongside #LetUsBeHeard.

(image: https://www.peoples-vote.uk)

Upcoming information events

The British Embassy is organising information events in order to ensure that Brits living in Germany are kept in the loop with information regarding the UK’s preparations to leave the EU. These events will be an opportunity for UK nationals to pose questions regarding individual situations and a British in Germany e.V. representative has also been invited to speak at each event.

DATES AND LOCATIONS

  • Berlin, 30 September – register here
  • Düsseldorf, 1 October – register here
  • Frankfurt, 10 October – register here
  • Hamburg, 15 October – register here
  • Munich, 24 October – register here

Please bear in mind that interested participants will have to register in advance. Details to follow.

Also see the Embassy’s webpage.

#stopthecoup Berlin Saturday 7 September 2019

Sara Gordon reports on pro democracy demonstration which took place in Berlin last weekend.

On Saturday representatives from British in Germany joined grassroots organisation Stop the Coup Berlin, also supported by Pulse of Europe, to defend British democracy in the face of the current government’s attempts to push through a no-deal Brexit.

Many Brits living in Germany along with the vast majority of EU citizens living in the UK were not able to vote in the referendum, a decision that will detrimentally affect our lives and futures. The threat of a no-deal Brexit has caused fear, anger and distress, compounded by stressful cliff-edge situations and the threats to democracy in the UK government under Boris Johnson. Many in British in Germany face uncertainty until they are granted some form of residence permit, and many will not be able to apply until Brexit happens. Brits elsewhere in the EU may be even less fortunate. A disorderly Brexit could make them illegal overnight – resulting in traumatic chaos.

Aware of the potential consequences of a disorderly Brexit both here in Germany and back in the UK, Brits and EU citizens banded together to form Stop the Coup Berlin. Following on from smaller protest on 31 August, a core of seven people went to work, lost lots of sleep, and organised a larger demonstration on Pariser Platz directly in front of the Brandenburg Gate on Saturday 7th September. 

Speakers included MEP Sergey Lagodlnsky (Bündnis 90/die Grünen), who spoke about the importance of democracy; Berlin-based British political commentator Jon Worth, who shared his analysis of recent events; Daniel Tetlow of British in Germany, who spoke about citizen rights, academic Prof. Dr. Mareike Kleine (LSE / Freie Universität), who spoke about what happens when democracies go bad; newlywed British-born German Rachel Marriott who detailed some of the experiences of Brits living in Germany in the face of Brexit. This was followed by a brief open-mic session, followed by Scottish stand-up comedian Neil Numb who added his lighter-hearted take on all this. 

The whole event was accompanied by local musicians Espin and the Noisses, the highlight of which was perhaps the duet set of EU-inspired songs by Noisses’ singer Lucy Stubley and Espin, including “Nothing compares to EU”.

The protest was a resounding success! At peak, we counted 150 attendees and collected over 220 signatures for the letter to Ambassador Sir Sebastian Wood, which was delivered to a representative on the day by coordinator Rose Newell and logistics man Maurice Bennet. 

Depending on events over the next few weeks, British in Germany will continue to coordinate with Stop the Coup Berlin and Pulse of Europe on the best way to proceed. It is highly likely that another demonstration will be organised in the near future. 

We would like to thank all that attended the demonstration and encourage more to come out next time! 

Until then, we encourage you to visit the British in Germany Berlin Stammtisch this Saturday (14th September) at BrewDog Mitte (1 to 5 pm) and keep in touch via Facebook, Twitter and email. 

Images (c) Sara Gordon, 2019

The event was cover by several media outlets. Here are a few links to their reporting:

Reuters: Demonstrators protest against no-deal Brexit in central Berlin

Berlin Spectator: British Expatriates Stage Protest Against Brexit

For more about Stop the Coup see their website.

Sara was also interviewed by the Guardian recently in their article ‘A beautiful dream destroyed’: Britons in EU on no-deal Brexit

BiG Chair Jane Golding on BBC Today Programme

 

British in Germany’s chair and co-chair of British in Europe Jane Golding was interviewed by Nick Robinson on BBC Radio 4’s flagship news programme TODAY on 2nd September 2019.

Jane Golding, Chair of British in Germany e.V.

You can listen to the interview here by spooling 2 hours and 33 minutes through the programme. (8.33am BST)

Nick Robinson, BBC Today Programme Presenter

 

 

Open Evening and Stammtisch in Hannover, Friday 17 May

British in Hannover have two upcoming events this Friday, 17 May.

Open Evening for UK nationals, 4 pm – 7 pm, NordLB Building (Friedrichswall 10, 30159 Hannover) 

In collaboration with the Honorary Consul in Hanover Thomas Bürkle and British in Germany e.V., the British Embassy Berlin will host an Open Evening for UK nationals on Friday 17th May 2019. This will be an opportunity to find out how the UK leaving the EU might affect your rights to live and work in Germany.

More info and registration (required) at the Eventbrite page. Please bring proof of registration and photo ID with you on the night.

Straight afterwards is the British in Hannover Stammtisch, at the Ständige Vertretung (in the same building, Friedrichswall 10, Hannover), from 7 pm until closing time. Come along for a pint and an informal chat! You can check out the Facebook event here.

Image of Hannover by fmcato at Creative Commons