French Senate confirms “favourable treatment” of Brits in France, if UK reciprocates

The French Senate has approved a bill enabling the government to take swift action to minimise the impacts of a UK departure from the European Union without a deal. The plan includes steps to protect the rights of British citizens living in France, as well as French and EU citizens in the UK.

The bill passed by the Senate on November 6 has now to be approved by the National Assembly, the lower chamber of the French parliament.

Preferential treatment for British nationals

With the adoption of the text, senators authorise the government to make fast executive decisions (by decree) in the event of no deal. Measures will also have to cover the status of British nationals “lawfully resident in France” on Brexit date.

When the UK leaves the EU, on 29 March 2019, British citizens in EU countries will become “third country nationals”. This means that they will no longer benefit of EU free movement rules. Failing to reach an agreement with the European Union, on 30 March British nationals in the EU may “find themselves in an irregular position,” said French Minister for Europe Nathalie Loiseau presenting the bill in October. The French government will therefore have to take action to protect their rights.

Measures to be adopted will cover the right of entry and residence, and the employment status, of British residents in France. A special mention is made regarding public servants and trainees of British nationality working in the French administration.

The Senate has endorsed the option to guarantee a “favourable treatment” to Britons living in France compared to third country nationals. But this will be dropped if the UK does not reciprocate, says the bill.

“Such decrees may envisage that measures granting UK nationals or legal persons established in the UK a more favourable treatment than that of third country nationals or legal persons established in third countries, shall cease to have effect if the UK does not grant equivalent treatment.”

“Ces ordonnances peuvent prévoir que les mesures accordant aux ressortissants britanniques ou aux personnes morales établies au Royaume‑Uni un traitement plus favorable que celui des ressortissants de pays tiers ou de personnes morales établies dans des pays tiers cesseront de produire effet si le Royaume‑Uni n’accorde pas un traitement équivalent.”

In the attempt to attract businesses moving from the UK, senators specified that the government should address the employment rights, professional qualifications and social security contributions of staff of companies that choose to locate in France after Brexit.

Executive orders

The bill also aims to recognise the social security rights, professional experience, and qualifications acquired before Brexit (or in the course of acquisition on Brexit date) by French and EU nationals moving from the UK to France.

Senators added to the text the possibility of addressing these issues in a bilateral agreement between the UK and France.

“866 days since the EU referendum and 143 days to the Brexit deadline […] every effort must be made to secure and preserve the rights of the 3 million Europeans in the UK and the 2 million British in Europe. The government must therefore be enabled to take the necessary measures in due time,” commented senator for the French abroad Olivier Cadic.

Brexit – Habilitation du gouvernement à prendre des ordonnances (1) – Vidéo (2m15)Le gouvernement français a présenté un projet de loi pour lui permettre de réagir par ordonnances à toutes les éventualités liées au retrait du Royaume-Uni. Ces mesures concernent divers domaines comme le statut réservé aux ressortissants britanniques (droit de séjour, activité professionnelle…) ou le contrôle des marchandises.Et pour cause, j'ai rappelé que 866 jours après le référendum et à J-143 de l'échéance, personne ne sait ce que Brexit signifie. Le Royaume-Uni est totalement divisé sur le projet de sortie.Il faut se préparer certes, mais se préparer à quoi ?Cela étant, tout doit être entrepris pour sécuriser et préserver les droits des 3 millions d'Européens du Royaume-Uni et des 2 millions de Britanniques en Europe.Il faut donc habiliter le gouvernement à prendre par ordonnances les mesures nécessaires, en temps voulu.

Posted by Olivier Cadic on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The report attached to the bill noted that there are 1,715 British citizens working in the French administration and 900 sitting in French municipal councils. Every year, 4 million Brits visit France, and 32 million people and 4.2 million trucks cross the Eurotunnel. Some 186,000 British nationals were living in France in 2017, according to the EU statistical office Eurostat.

The National Assembly is expected to discuss the bill in December.


Claudia Delpero © all rights reserved.
Photo via Pixabay.

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