An EU flag during a "Flag Mob" demonstration in Parliament Square in central London. Photo: AFP
Members of the lobbying group Expat Citizen Rights in EU (Ecreu) say they've been totally ignored by the British government, which claims to have “engaged with expatriate groups” about their post-Brexit rights.
In a policy paper from last month about exiting the EU, the government said that securing the status of UK nationals in the EU was “an early priority”.
“To this end, we have engaged a range of stakeholders, including expatriate groups, to ensure we understand the priorities of UK nationals living in EU countries.”
Not so, says Dave Spokes, a founder of Ecreu, which represents Brits living in 25 EU countries including France, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Italy, and Austria,
He told British newspaper The Guardian that neither his group nor any of the 12 similar groups in his coalition “have ever been consulted”.
“It does appear that in signing the white paper and presenting it to MPs, the prime minister and Mr Davies have misled parliament,” he said, referring to Brexit secretary David Davis.
The coalition, thought to be the biggest of its kind in Europe with over 32,000 members.
The website says that 66 percent of the group's members are retired.
Their chief concerns are healthcare, pensions, travel, exchange rates, and home ownership.
A spokesperson from the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) says that British government “has been clear” about wanting to secure the status of Brits in Europe.
“We are working with our embassies across the EU to listen to any concerns and ensure that UK expats are kept up to date on the government’s position,” the spokesperson said in a statement.