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BREXIT

Brits in EU demand to be spared from Brexit ‘train crash’ after May’s deal rejected

Lawmakers in the UK parliament overwhelmingly rejected Theresa May's Brexit deal on Tuesday evening sparking frustration among EU leaders and anger from campaigners for the rights of Britons across Europe who were left furious by the prime minister's statement.

Brits in EU demand to be spared from Brexit 'train crash' after May's deal rejected
Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP.

A huge majority of UK parliamentarians rejected Theresa May's Brexit deal on Tuesday evening, leaving the government's plan for the UK's exit from the EU in tatters and the future of 1.2 million Brits in Europe shrouded in yet more doubt.

LIVE: Brits in EU demand to be spared from Brexit 'train crash' after May's deal rejected

More than two thirds of MPs voted against the Brexit deal, known as the Withdrawal Agreement. The numbers represented a crushing defeat for the PM: 202 voted in favour of the agreement but a staggering 432 MPs voted against.

The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn seized on the government's massive defeat, the largest for any government since the 1920s, to call for a vote of no-confidence.

MPs will now debate whether they have confidence in May's government on Wednesday January 16th.

Jean-Claude Juncker returned to Brussels early from meetings in Strasbourg, with May expected to seek a new round of meetings with the EU Commission and EU leaders to thrash out a new deal. 

But Juncker was not hopeful and urged the UK to “clarify its intentions”.

“The risk of a disorderly withdrawal of the UK has increased with this evening's vote. While we do not want this to happen, we will continue our contingency work to help ensure EU is fully prepared,” Juncker said in a statement shortly after the vote. 

Donald Tusk, the European Council president, outlined the Brexit impasse and suggested Brexit should be called off for the good of both the EU and the UK.

Meanwhile the first thoughts of the president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani was with those Britons in the EU and Europeans in the UK.

“The Brexit vote is bad news. Our first thoughts are with the 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK and Britons living elsewhere in the EU. They need assurances with regards to their future. We will always stand by their side,” Tajani said.

 

While campaigners for the rights of the 1.2 million Britons in Europe expected the result their anger at being left in limbo by negotiators for 934 days was heightened by May's statement after the defeat.

Kalba Meadows from British in Europe and Remain in France Together told The Local: “There was no great surprise in the result but the sheer hypocrisy in Theresa May's statement afterwards was just breathtaking when she said 'People, particularly EU citizens who have made their home here and UK citizens living in the EU, deserve clarity on these questions as soon as possible.' 

“We've been asking for clarity for over two years now, and neither she nor any of the DExEU Secretaries of State have been willing to meet us.

“I doubt there's one single EU citizen in the UK or UK citizen in the EU that didn't choke on those words. If she really wants to give us certainty, then she must push hard for the ring-fencing of our rights and do so now. It's the only just solution. Human lives must be taken out of this train crash”

The group British in Italy were similarly outraged.

“Following the largest defeat of any government in over 100 years, Theresa May said only that EU citizens in the UK and British nationals in the EU deserve clarity as to their future and their rights.
 
“But she singularly failed to offer any plan as to how to achieve that. 
 
“Our citizens' rights that have already been negotiated and agreed between the UK and EU could so easily be ring-fenced (protected).
 
“Theresa May has offered nothing – not even an extension to the Article 50 period in order to discuss such a proposition with Europe.”
 
Some campaigners said May must now allow the British people to make a decision on what happen's next.
 
Brian Robinson from Brexpats Hear Our Voice told The Local: “The defeat of her personal Brexit deal was comprehensive, despite her frequent threats of the danger of a 'no deal' Brexit. The stark reality is that the clock is still ticking and parliament must urgently restore democracy and respond to the irresistible demands for a People's Vote.”
 
After the vote British in Europe reiterated its call for Theresa May to seek the “ringfencing” of the rights of EU nationals in the Uk and British nationals in the EU. 
 

Citizens' rights campaigners called on Theresa May, who name-checked UK nationals in Europe shortly after the heavy defeat in parliament, to return to Brussels and strike a deal for their rights.

But Theresa May may not be in a position to renegotiate any deal. First of all her government has to survive Wednesday's confidence vote.

It may be a long time yet before Britons in Europe get any clarity over their futures.

Member comments

  1. “Lawmakers in the UK parliament overwhelmingly rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday evening sparking frustration among EU leaders” – That’s pretty awesome news!

  2. “The numbers represented a crushing defeat for the PM: 202 voted in favour of the agreement but a staggering 432 MPs voted against.

    …the government’s massive defeat, the largest for any government since the 1920s”

    Beautiful! The woman (May) is evil and it’s about time to revolt against her.

  3. Brexit is wrong. The UK must NOT leave the EU. The UK needs the EU and God help us, the EU definitely needs the UK.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

People who have more than one citizenship often hold multiple passports, so what does this mean for crossing borders? Here's what you should know.

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

For many readers of The Local, gaining citizenship of the country where they live helps them to feel more settled – but there are also travel benefits, including avoiding the long ‘non EU’ queue when coming back into the Schengen zone.

But this week the problems associated with travelling while holding dual citizenship came to light, leaving many people wondering what they should know when they are entering different countries.

Put simply – which passport should you use? And do you have to carry both with you?

Financial Times journalist Chris Giles tweeted that the UK Border Force “detained” his dual-national daughter while she was travelling from France into the UK with her German passport – and not her British one. 

He went on to say that UK border guards released his daughter. According to Giles, the border staff said she should have had both passports with her “and asked why she was travelling on her German one”.

The rules on dual-nationality have not changed, but now that the UK is not in the EU, there are strict rules on non-Brits who enter the country (and vice-versa) which has made it trickier for travel.

For instance, UK nationals receive a stamp in their passport when entering Schengen member states because they are only allowed to stay up to 90 days within an 180 period (unless they have a visa or residency card).

READ ALSO: Brexit: EU asks border police not to stamp passports of British residents 

People coming from the EU to the UK can generally visit as a tourist for up to six months without a visa – but are not allowed to carry out any work while there.

So which passport should you show?

The first thing to be aware of is there are no specific rules on travelling with more than one passport. 

Travellers can choose to use whichever passport they prefer when going to a country. 

But one thing to note is that it’s worth using the passport that is best suited to your destination when travelling there. Each country has its own set of immigration and visa rules that you’ll need to research closely.

It could be that one passport is better suited for your trip – and you may be able to avoid visa requirements.  

READ ALSO: How powerful is the German passport?

In the case of the UK, many people are still getting to grips with the different rules that apply because it’s not in the EU anymore.

A question submitted to the Secretary of State for the Home Department in September 2021 provided some insight into this issue. 

The question from Labour’s Paul Blomfield asked what steps the UK government “is taking to enable dual UK and EU citizens to travel to the UK on an EU member state passport without having to further prove their UK citizenship?”

The Conservatives Kevin Foster said: “Border Force Officers examine all arriving passengers to establish whether they are British citizens, whether they require leave to enter or if they are exempt from immigration control.

“Where the passenger claims to be British, but does not hold any evidence of British citizenship, the officer will conduct all relevant checks to satisfy themselves the passenger is British.

Border control at Hamburg airport.

Border control at Hamburg airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

“When dual nationals who are eligible to use e-gates travel to the UK, they will enter via the e-gates without being examined by an immigration officer.

“We recommend all dual nationals, including EU citizens, travel on their British passport or with evidence or their British citizenship to minimise any potential delay at the border or when commencing their journey.”

The Local contacted the UK Home Office to ask if there was any official advice. 

A spokesman said: “An individual can present whichever passport they desire to enter the UK, however they will be subject to the entry requirements associated with the nationality of the passport they present.”

They said anyone who is looking for more information should check out guidance on entering the UK and on dual nationality.

In short, if you present a German passport on entry to the UK you will be treated the same as any other German citizen – which can include being quizzed about your reasons for visiting the UK – as border guards have no way of knowing that you are a dual-national. 

Do I have to carry both passports?

There’s no rule requiring you to have both passports, but you won’t get the benefits of a British passport (entry into the UK without questions) if you don’t show it.

Likewise if you are a French-British dual national and you enter France on your UK passport, you will need to use the non-EU queue and may have your passport stamped.

Should I think about anything else?

An important thing to remember is that if you apply for a visa and register your passport details, the same passport has to be used to enter the country. 

It could also make sense to travel with both passports, just in case. 

However, note that some countries – like the US – require that US nationals use a US passport to enter and leave the States even if they are dual nationals. 

In general, it’s best to use the same passport you entered a country with to depart.

The rules and systems are different depending on the country. But many countries require people to show their passport when leaving – and they will either stamp or scan the passport – this is how authorities know that a foreign visitor hasn’t overstayed their time in the country. 

So if your passport is checked as you leave the UK, you should show the one you arrived with, just to ensure there is a record of you arriving and leaving.

However as you enter France/Germany/other EU destination, you can show your EU passport in order to maximise the travel benefits of freedom of movement.

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