|British Embassy Outreach meeting with Mathew Lodge, Civray 2020|
British Embassy outreach meeting, Civray February 2020
Yesterday afternoon, in a theatre full of worried British citizens (and a few concerned French ones), I listened with interest to Mathew Lodge, deputy to the UK Ambassador in France, talk about the current situation for British citizens living in France.
Here is a quick summary of the major points that stood out for me, but at the bottom I will include some useful links to more detailed information.
1) I thank fuck that a Withdrawal Agreement was put into place before Boris ‘Got Brexit Done’. I can’t imagine the shit we would all be in if we didn’t have it.
2) Those of us already legally resident in France (or those who become resident here before the 31st December 2020) will evolve to become a new species of British citizen from 1st January 2021. For the purposes of this blog post, let’s call ourselves the ‘WA Brit’. We might not have super powers, but we do have protected rights in many areas.
3) Our rights to live and work in France, and to access the services and benefits system are to be maintained, as they were when we were EU Citizens, now and forever. I can picture the confusion already:
“Mais Madame la Fonc, I am no ordinary Brit (see me puff out my chest and stand as tall as my 5ft-and-a-biscuit frame will allow). I am a WA Brit. I need my own tick box on your form please, for I am not an EU citizen, but then neither am I classed as a third country national.”
This will no doubt be met with a gallic shrug of her shoulders and prove to be a sticking point for many years to come.
4) Our pension contributions, both here in France and the UK are protected, and we will benefit from a lifelong uprating of pensions, even for those of us who have not yet reached retirement age.
5) Those of us registered with the French healthcare system (and if you are living here and haven’t yet registered DO IT NOW) will continue to benefit from the French issued EHIC (European health care card) for use in the UK and for our travels in other EU states.
6) Our children will continue to be treated like EU citizens in terms of education provision, including university and higher education courses, although access to teaching degrees seems to be an issue as we can no longer work in the public sector. Our children who choose to return to the UK for university will benefit from ‘home’ as opposed to ‘overseas’ student fees until 2028.
7) We will all need to apply for a WA Brit titre (carte) de séjour, even if you are in possession of a recently issued EU card. The French authorities have already issued a detailed directive to all Mairies, a translation of which I have included at the bottom of this post.
8) The WA is already a legally binding agreement and everything within it is protected, no matter what issues arise during the trade negotiations that are currently taking place.
|Talking to Mathew Lodge, deputy Ambassador|
Buoyed by his words of reassurance, I took myself onto the stage afterwards to have a one to one chat with him. Having first thanked him for coming and for having such positive news to share, I then asked a more specific question for our circumstances, that of Adrian’s work providing services. It was at this point his smile dropped just fractionally. Services it seems is a hot bed of shit thanks to the City of London and its Financial Services, (which is oddly enough the world I used to live in pre-Ed and moving to France). His view is that there are just too many regulations and tax implications surrounding services, that an agreement on services is unlikely, ever.
This is the worry I have had since June 2016 and despite the reassurance given in so many areas yesterday, I can’t help but feel why us? Of all the great things covered in the WA, what is not covered is voting in France or standing for election in France, something that has been a major part of my French life for the last six years, and more importantly the provision of services across borders, which is exactly what Adrian’s French operated company provides and where our family income comes from. Up shit creak without a paddle comes to mind.
This meeting wouldn’t have been possible without the work of Kathryn Dobson and the British in Europe team. They have been, and hope to continue to be, our voice in France, in the EU and in the UK as the negotiations proceed. They have a legal team who ensure they can provide jargon-free accurate information as quickly as possible, as and when our situation changes. If you haven’t already, do visit their website where there are explanatory guides to the WA.
Also on their website you can find details of their crowdfunder appeal. In order for their small team of ten volunteers to continue to work to help us, they need our help financially. Without donations towards travel expenses and fees, they can’t guarantee being able to continue to fight for our rights. Click here to help secure our future.
Translated message sent to all Mairies concerning Titre de Séjour for British citizens living in France before the end of the WA:
“The Withdrawal Agreement for the United Kingdom leaving the European Union on 1 February 2020 provides for a transitional period until 31 December 2020 during which all the current rights of British nationals, acquired as European Union nationals, are maintained.
British nationals are therefore not currently subject to the obligation to hold a residence permit.
The provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement will apply to British nationals and their family members already settled in France on the date of withdrawal of the United Kingdom or those coming to settle in France before 31st December 2020. As per the Withdrawal Agreement, British nationals will be issued specific residence permits which they will have to apply for from July 2020 and before 1st July 2021.
They will not be required to hold a residence permit until this date.
To facilitate this, a new online application site adapted to the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement will be opened in early July 2020.
The site that was opened on 9th October 2019 in anticipation of a No Deal Brexit is now closed. The information that has already been uploaded has been kept so those who have already submitted an application will not need to make a new request. A standard email will be sent out to the those concerned.
Consequently, British nationals living in the department are invited to wait for the opening of the new dedicated online system which will be available in July 2020.”
Further detailed information can be found at these websites: