Boris Johnson 'needs to step up for British expats' says expert
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Boris Johnson has been called on to be more vocal over the treatment of British nationals living in the European Union. Under the Withdrawal Agreement, both London and Brussels signed up to respect the rights of each other’s respective nationals. However, there has been mounting concern that EU countries are failing to fully live up to the conditions of the agreement leaving some British residents in dire straits following Brexit.
Joshua Mackenzie Lawrie told Express.co.uk: “Helping EU nationals in the UK there is very little more we can do to help them but in term of UK nationals in the EU, I think fundamentally it requires the Prime Minister to step up and talk about the issue.
The rights of UK and EU nationals residing in host countries was negotiated by London and Brussels as part of the Withdrawal Agreement with both sides now expected to implement the conditions.
However, some Brexit supporters feel the EU is not upholding the rights of UK nationals which are protected by law under the term of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Mr Mackenzie Lawrie added: “He talks about advocating for a global Britain well first things first you need to make sure that the rights of our citizens are protected and that involves actually addressing the issue and not trying to bury your head in the sand.”
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It comes after Lord Frost told peers that the UK government was “closely monitoring” the treatment of British nationals amid concerns some countries are failing to live up to the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
He said “If there are problems and there have been problems and they are reducing but problems do still exist in some countries.
“We obviously take that up with the government of that country and we will also raise them in the joint committee,” added Lord Frost.
The Brexit minister continued: “It must be understood that if an EU government does not fulfill its responsibilities under the Withdrawal Agreement then the EU collectively is not fully abiding by the conditions of that withdrawal agreement.”
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Lord Frost continued: “The sorts of problems we get is difficulty evidencing rights for example if members states are slow to roll out the right kind of ID card that evidences that you are a citizen with withdrawal agreement rights.
“Sometimes people from it had to access services, benefits, unemployment benefits, travel benefits, health and so on.
“And occasionally we find still that some governments require overburdensome paperwork from people to acknowledge their rights.
“But in all cases, we are working with them and the situation is improving.”
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Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the residency rights of Britons living in the EU before January 1, 2021, are automatically protected.
There is no deadline for registration but the Foreign Office has been encouraging those British nationals who are covered under the agreement to register their residency if they have not already done so.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “The rights of UK nationals to continue living, working and studying in their EU Member State are protected by law.
“Anyone legally resident before 1 January 2021 can stay but should register their residence.
“The UK Government has been running a public information campaign across Europe to inform UK nationals about the actions they may need to take to secure their rights and access to services.”
They added: “This includes outreach events, adverts on social media and in newspapers, and support through our network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates.”
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