Category Archives: Events

UPDATE ON UK CITIZEN STATUS IN GERMANY DEAL OR NO DEAL

First and foremost, the German government has been emphatic in their assurance that post Brexit, UK nationals will be allowed to carry on living and working here in both deal and no deal scenarios.
Who spoke, when and where?  (video link below)
Jane Golding

An Information Evening was held in Berlin on 18th December, hosted by the British Embassy and addressed by Sir Sebastian Wood, British Ambassador, Jane Golding, Co-Chair of British in Europe and Chair of British in Germany, Engelhard Mazanke, Head of the Berlin Foreigners’ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde), and Christoph Wolfrum, EU Policy and Strategy Unit of the Federal German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt). Christoph Wolfrum explained how the German government is preparing for both deal and no deal scenarios.

Deal Scenario:
Engelhard Mazanke

In the case of a deal and ratification of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement, Germany plans to have an application or constitutive system.  This means that British citizens will need to apply for the relevant status, subject to the conditions and provisions set out in the Withdrawal agreement. However, during the transition period planned to last until at least 31 December 2020 our status (other than voting rights) will remain as it is now. That’s all dependent on some form of Withdrawal agreement being agreed.

No Deal Scenario:
Sir Sebastian Wood

Following on from the European Commission´s Contingency Action Plan published on 13 November, the German government is now starting to put its no-deal plan together. Part of that is to introduce measures to ensure UK nationals in Germany can continue to live and work here legally after 29 March 2019. Mr. Wolfrum explained that, in the case of no deal, a ministerial decree would be adopted and British citizens would have a three month transition period post March 2019 during which they would be exempt from needing whichever new status would ultimately apply to UK citizens in Germany. UK citizens would need to apply for the new status with applications to be processed by end 2019 latest – it is not yet clear what that would be but it would be a third country national status, given Brexit is taking us out of the EU.

What Berlin has said:
Christoph Wolfrum

Engelhard Mazanke, Head of the Berlin Foreigners’ Registration Office, set out what process the State of Berlin is planning for UK nationals resident in Berlin in case of a no-deal. In January 2019 his office will be launching an online system to provide for voluntary “registration” on the Ausländerbehörde website.  Based on that registration the Ausländerbehörde will then issue a certificate confirming that the individuals were resident in Berlin before March 2019. 

What is British in Germany doing now?

The British in Germany team is currently seeking clarification on a number of questions raised by the Berlin proposals, as well as the proposals outlined by the Auswärtiges Amt. The proposals on the process described above only apply to Berlin but we are also seeking information on what other Länder are planning.  In addition, British in Europe/British in Germany together with the3million, have already requested meetings with both the Brexit team in the Auswärtiges Amt and the office of Heiko Maas (Foreign Minister) for early January in anticipation of more public information about Germany’s plans and we have been informed that both offices will propose dates shortly.  More information on this website as soon as we have it.

Video link to the event:

Here´s the video link with all the speeches given that evening. Jane Golding speaks from 27:10. Mr Wolfrum from the German Foreign Ministry (which has a steering role in the Brexit process in Germany) starts speaking at 19:09 and Mr Mazanke, Head of the Foreigners´ Office of Berlin, speaks from 39:00 onwards.

We will continue to work for the rights of UK citizens living in Germany and do all we can to keep you across the changes that will affect our lives in the coming months and years.

Please, if you are able, support our work here, or consider giving membership to BiG as a Christmas gift at this critical moment in all our lives.

Best wishes and a very Happy Christmas.

British in Germany. e.V.

 

Written Evidence to HoL. Committee

Following Jane Golding’s oral evidence to the House of Lords EU  committee, follow-up evidence on the effect of No Deal has been submitted to the inquiry.

Read in full the  House of Lords Written Evidence

CONCLUSIONS

25. Given all the above, in our view, there is no clear and comprehensive legal solution to the issues faced by British citizens residing in the EU or EU citizens in the UK without a deal between the EU and the UK, agreeing the principles on which the exiting rights of these citizens should be safeguarded, and setting out the detail in the Withdrawal Agreement.

26. Any default position under a mixture of EU, national, European (European Convention on Human Rights) and international law would be an imperfect and patchwork solution and lead to years of
practical problems for more than 4.2 million British citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK who moved pre-Brexit to other EU countries in good faith and with the legitimate expectation that their EU citizenship rights were irrevocable.

27. Moreover, such a solution would also be impractical and create difficulties for both the UK and other EU countries as regards its implementation, entailing an unsatisfactory piecemeal approach to the position of former EU citizens already resident, sometimes far longer than five years, in their countries.

28. It is the current intention of the EU and the UK at this stage in the negotiations to set out in detail any deal that they reach as regards safeguarding citizens’ rights in the Withdrawal Agreement, thus giving these provisions treaty status and force of international law. However, the negotiators need to go further and definitively agree that the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement would have direct effect in national law, and also agree which international dispute resolution body will have jurisdiction as regards these rights. This could of course be the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), given that the rights in question derive from EU law, and to ensure consistency of interpretation of the rights of both groups of citizens in the UK and EU 27 going forward. In the event that it is not the CJEU, a body fulfilling the same conditions should be chosen.

29. “No Deal” is an ambiguous term in connection with citizens’ rights. It could mean that the UK and the EU are unable to agree on anything, or it could mean that, whilst they are agreed on citizens’ rights, they have failed to reach agreement on other matters and conclude that there is “no deal”. It is essential to ensure that, provided there is an agreement at least on citizens’ rights, we are not in a no deal situation. The UK and EU can do this by ensuring that any agreement on citizens’ rights is ring-fenced from the rest of the negotiations. Currently, in order to reach sufficient progress in the negotiations, the three priority areas in the negotiations are
being linked. This means that matters and compromises that have direct repercussions for the
lives of real people are being mixed up with the discussions as regards the financial settlement and the Irish border. There is no way of avoiding the conclusion that citizens and their rights are
being used as bargaining chips in these negotiations. Unless and until citizens’ rights are ringfenced from the rest of the negotiations, this position will not change.

30. There is also the concern that citizens’ rights may be the only area in which it may be possible to reach sufficient progress by December, the date of the next European Council meeting. In that
case, it may be that the negotiators will seek to make compromises that will limit the extent to which existing rights are guaranteed. Conversely, it may simply mean that the bar is lowered and that, even if fundamental issues concerning citizens’ rights still remain to be agreed, the UK and EU will conclude that “sufficient progress” on citizens’ rights has nonetheless been reached. It would be fundamentally unjust for the 4-5 million people who have relied in good faith on their rights with the legitimate expectation that they were irrevocable if any such compromises were to be made.

31. In conclusion and given what is set out above, on citizens’ rights, the repercussions of a no deal are serious – and exclusively negative for the lives of between 4-5 million people who have moved across the Channel in reliance of their existing rights as EU citizens.