The UK has voted to leave the EU and Brexit talks have begun. But what about the fate of British expats in Europe. What will happen to them? What are the current plans for them, asks Martin Banks?
Those among the estimated 1.8 million expat Britons who have lived on mainland Europe for 15 years or more were denied a vote in the UK general election on 8 June.
But, if Britons living in the EU were angry about not voting in the election (or the EU referendum last year that will take the UK out of the EU), can you imagine how they feel about possibly being denied their democratic rights once again?
That is precisely what many of the British expats in Belgium and throughout Europe fear when the UK finally leaves.
One of the most important yet most difficult aspects of Brexit will be sorting out what happens to UK citizens in other EU states (as well as EU citizens from other member states currently in the UK).
We’ve known for a while that citizens’ status is going to be one of the first topics tackled in the upcoming negotiations. But what is not known yet is just how complex such a process will be.
Around three million EU citizens, many of them Poles, currently live in the UK. They have to go through a lengthy 85-page application process in order to become a permanent British citizen, and the number doing so has reportedly soared since Britain voted to leave in June last year.