Tag Archives: homepage

Munich Infoabend 27 Feb

Plenty of questions – any answers?

British in Germany’s Bavaria group ‘British in Bavaria’ hosted a lively discussion evening with two representatives from HM government on 27 February. David Hole delivered a sober analysis of where we are now and HM Consul-General Paul Heardman and Tim Jones from the British Embassy in Berlin fielded questions from the floor.

Here´s David Hole´s report on the evening:

British in Bavaria 27th. February, 2018
Report by David Hole on a discussion evening with
HM Consul-General Paul Heardman and Tim Jones, British Embassy, Berlin.

More than 80 UK Nationals turned up to the Kolpinghaus in Munich to hear the talks from representatives of HMG on citizens’ rights and to participate in the discussion.

I introduced the topic with a brief review of the stage reached so far. Tim Jones then spoke for HMG. He had initially expected a decision on citizens’ rights by September/October last year. In fact it took until December and there are still some questions open. Both sides are conscious of the huge value that EU and British citizens have contributed to the countries where they reside. To achieve agreement on their rights remains the highest priority.

Economic activity is not considered to be a citizens’ rights issue, but a question for phase II of the negotiations. The Prime Minister is to deliver a major speech on Friday, 2nd. March on the UK’s vision on how this phase is to go forward. The British Ambassador from Germany was present at Chequers when this was discussed in cabinet.

There are two agreements: the withdrawal agreement, which should not be as difficult as may seem, requiring a qualified majority on the EU side. This should be in place by October and include citizens’ rights. Then there is the question of how transition may work. UK would wish existing trade agreements to remain in force for the length of transition.

It is recognised that organising an election to the European Parliament would present great difficulty, if the UK had not departed the EU formally by March 2019. The legal text of the points agreed in the technical notes for Phase I should be available to-morrow (Wednesday, 28th. February). The question of freedom of movement (FoM) is still open. HMG will continue to raise this. There will be a continuing engagement procedure with British citizens. HMG is aware of and supports British in Germany. There remains a need to reach individual citizens to ensure we are prepared for it.

The question and discussion part was opened.

In reply to the question on where the information and observations generated this evening would go, it was stated that this goes to the Foreign Office and to the Dept. for Exiting the EU. There was scepticism expressed at the benefit of this, although there was an assurance that this is faithfully reported.

The UK does not require its citizens to relinquish British citizenship if another citizenship is taken. Control of immigration into the UK is a matter that requires a more developed policy. Some form of registration is going to be necessary.

A broad range of issues was covered in the questions, but the most pressing points were the loss/retention of British citzenship on naturalisation in Germany and the loss of the right to vote in the UK. This latter point continues to engender considerable anger, which became ever more apparent as the evening progressed. It was stressed that, as long as the UK is a member state of the EU, i.e until March 2019, those granted German citizenship by that date will be entitled to retain their British citizenship as well. Once dual citizenship is acquired, there will be no later requirement to choose between them. This is also confirmed by the German authorities.

There was assurance that pensions would continue to be uprated, and that state pension contributions would continue to be aggregated. However, it also emerged that the question of private pension has not yet been addressed, it being regarded as economic activity. Where payments are made into a private pension scheme in the UK, it is intended that this should continue to be possible.

There are no plans for a second referendum. This of itself would require an Act of Parliament. The Private Member’s Bill on votes for life currently before Parliament has just passed its second reading and proceeds to committee stage. There is no firm indication as to whether this will be passed into law or when.

The question of the Irish border after Brexit was raised and proved to be as intractable in the discussion that followed as it has been on every other occasion it has been raised.

The evening ended in something of an acrimonious atmosphere, as anger at disenfranchisement and the uncertainty for the future position escalated. From my subjective assessment, this comes partly too from the disappointment of the hopes that people have that HMG will say something positive on what is to be done on citizens’ rights. The position of HMG on this question, together with the position it takes on settled status for EU citizens in the UK, does not make any improvement in the situation likely.


British Forces in Germany/BiG launch 23 Feb

British in Germany launched their first British in Germany/British Forces Germany Paderborn meeting on Friday night 23rd February in Elsen, Padernborn, North Rheinnwestphalia.
Mr Roy McIntosh, a military man himself, made a sterling effort organising the launch: 51 serving and retired military and their families turned up to discuss the issues they are facing with Brexit and a Q&A video link was set up with Daniel Tetlow, co-founder of British in Germany.
The majority of those that attended intend to stay in Germany post Brexit and they discussed issues some of which are particular to British military serving in Germany as well as pensions, future German residency and dual citizenship.
The group decided to set up a BiG BFG Paderborn group, communicate via Whatsapp and Roy McIntosh will be announcing the next BiG Paderborn meeting in the next few days.
If you would like more information or would like to support Roy McIntosh in the organsation of BiG Paderborn, please contact him at big_paderborn(at)roy-mcintosh.de

Bavaria Ottobrunn infoeve 19 Feb

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

Berlin/Embassy Brexit event 13 Feb

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:

HMA citizens' rights speech Feb 2018

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