British expats challenge EU states over ‘illegal’ erosion of residency rights after Brexit

EU slammed for 'illegal and unfair' treatment of British expats

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British nationals living in the European Union have launched a legal challenge against the “illegal and unfair” erosion of citizenship rights after Brexit. Expat campaign group Brits Abroad have spearheaded the push to have Britons living in the EU recognised with European citizenship. Speaking from France, the organisation’s coordinator Terence Knott has explained that British residents feel they have been left feeling “cut-off” from the UK and their host countries.

Mr Knott told France 24: “What we are hoping to do is to win back European citizenship.

“This doesn’t mean getting another passport but it does mean being recognised as citizens in our various resident countries.

Asked how Brits Abroad hoped to secure full citizenship rights, he replied: “Well, the case is now going to court.

“We have a legal team who are working pro-bono.”

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He continued: “They happen to be French but they could have been from any of the other nations.

“We are looking to base it on people who are properly resident in all 27 countries who probably have a carte de séjour or an equivalent residence card.

“And we are looking for that recognition we live in the countries, we have given our time and indeed our taxes to these respective countries.

“We think that we at the moment we are cut off from both our own country and from the countries that we live in and we think that that is illegal and unfair.”

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Mr Knott also blasted the UK government for not doing more to help British nationals living in the EU with post-Brexit residency issues.

He said: “We have got people now stuck at home because they cannot drive.

“Their British driving licence has expired and the British Government has done nothing to help sort that out.” 

The campaigner said: “People are literally having to ask others to collect their shopping for them because they can’t legally drive.


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“We have done a survey recently of about 500 people and the saga of woe and despondency is literally heartbreaking.”

The UK Government has defended actions taken to support British resident living in the EU

Regarding driving licences, UK drivers are able to use their valid UK licence in France up until 1 January 2022.

A Government spokesperson said: “The UK and French Governments are working together to establish a reciprocal arrangement that will allow British nationals to continue driving in France without having to retake their driving test.”

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