UK expats being punished by ‘vindictive’ EU officials – Boris urged to rip up Brexit deal
Brexit: British expats in Spain share their thoughts on leaving EU
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And Jayne Adye, director of Get Britain Out, believes the European Parliament’s ongoing delay in ratifying the trade agreement signed by Mr Johnson in December should serve as a clear warning sign to the Prime Minister. The issue of the rights of UK expats after Brexit has become a particularly hot potato after March 31, the deadline for applications to the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme.
In her weekly bulletin, Ms Adye explained: “While the EU Parliament continues to try and interfere and question our sovereignty, its own Governments – France and Spain in particular – have categorically failed to hold up their responsibilities set out in the Withdrawal Agreement.
“Across the EU, UK expats are facing a myriad of unnecessary checks and restrictions, as well as trumped-up costs for administration tasks, such as getting a European Drivers Licence.”
She added: “Many are unable to open new bank accounts, move home, vote or even travel around Europe without having their rights questioned.”
At the moment we stand at a clear crossroads over our future relationship with the EU
All such rights were meant to protect in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement which took Britain out of the EU at the end of 2019, Ms Adye pointed out, with the UK keeping its end of the bargain in respect with regard to EU citizens living in the UK.
She said: “Despite these clear failings, much of the media – and the Government – refuse to take action or raise questions, leaving UK expats in the dark and vulnerable to vindictive and over-zealous local administrators.”
Mrs Adye warned: “At the moment we stand at a clear crossroads over our future relationship with the EU.
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“Our citizens are not having their rights respected by Member States.
“The EU Parliament continues to dither on approving our Trade Deal, and this is before we even get to the problem of the EU Commission continuing to demand the UK accept EU control over Northern Ireland, as well as a say in our domestic regulations!”
Ms Adye consequently urged Mr Johnson to abandon all efforts to accommodate Brussels.
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She said: “It is clear that what we have on the table at the moment does not work.
“There can be no debate over this, so why does the Government continue to fight for piecemeal change instead of advocating a fair agreement which rips up what is currently in place, especially one which is clearly not working?”
The European Parliament will vote on a post-Brexit trade deal agreed between Britain and the EU tomorrow after political leaders backed down on a threat not to ratify the accord due to British changes in Northern Ireland trading arrangements.
EU lawmakers are likely to back the trade and cooperation agreement overwhelmingly, a final step in its approval, although there had been some doubt whether they would do so in time.
Political group leaders agreed on Thursday to put the vote on the deal and a related resolution to the parliament’s full chamber next Tuesday. Parliamentary committees last week backed the trade deal by 108 votes to one.
Parliament faces an end-of-April deadline, but has said it wants to see Britain move on implementing the Northern Ireland protocol, part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement covering the special position of the British-owned province.
If there were no vote this month and provisional application of the agreement was not extended, then the trade deal would cease to apply, leaving Britain and the European Union to trade with tariffs and quotas.
Northern Ireland has stayed in the EU single market for goods to ensure a continued open border with EU member Ireland, but this requires checks on goods coming from other parts of the United Kingdom into the province.
In March, Britain unilaterally extended until October a grace period on certain checks, prompting legal action from the European Commission.
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