Brexit: an update for people living abroad

Brexit formal negotiations have not started yet between the EU and Britain. They will officially start when Theresa May triggers Article 50 (quick definition here) of the Treaty of Lisbon, at the end of March 2017. That means Britain will be out of the EU in March 2019.

One of the biggest questions about the Brexit is what will happen to the 3.3m EU citizens living in the UK and to the 1.2m UK citizens living in Europe.

An early resolution of that matter is critical as everybody is worried about what could happen: citizens, their families, UK-based employers etc.

Unfortunately the last couple of weeks have not been quite reassuring. It seems that both parties are completely at loggerheads on many aspects of the future talks, especially on the topic of EU residents and overseas UK nationals.

Indeed, when she arrived at Downing Street last July, Theresa May hoped that she could negotiate an early deal separately from official negotiations. The idea was to give EU nationals a permanent right to remain in the UK providing that a similar offer was made by the EU to British nationals.

However, Mrs May probably lost all hope this week when Donald Tusk (EU president) said, in a letter to British parliamentarians, that the only way to solve the issue was to start the Article 50 talks. Merkel also mentioned earlier that there could be no pre-negotiations before Britain officially triggers Article 50.

Observers, such as the FT, recently suggested that Mrs May should have a unilateral offer to EU nationals living in the UK before the date of the referendum, June 23.

Even if this measure would have been technically hard to implement, it would have sent positive signals to UK-based employers and to European diplomats. Unfortunately this opportunity has been lost and the situation will probably not be evolving before March of next year.

Let’s hope EU citizens will not be bargaining chips in Brexit negotiations.

Are you planning anything on your side? Or waiting for Article 50 to be triggered?

Make sure you subscribe to Neomy to receive exchange rate alerts next March as the announcement might have a big impact on the GBP, just like the referendum did.