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BREXIT

How a no-deal Brexit could mess up your dog’s holiday to France

The warning notices abut the impact a no-deal Brexit will have on the lives of British citizens (and their dogs) are coming thick and fast with the latest concerning holidaymakers who want to take their pets to France.

How a no-deal Brexit could mess up your dog's holiday to France
Photo: AFP

In recent weeks the British government has been ramping up its warnings about how a no-deal Brexit will impact the lives of its citizens living in the UK and throughout the EU.

In a series of impact notices the government has warned that UK citizens in the EU face losing access to the bank accounts back home, seeing the British driving licences become invalid and in the worst case scenario being unable to fly between France and the UK after Brexit day.

This week the government warned that holidaymakers who want to take their pets on a trip to France and other EU countries that will have to start preparing months in advance if there's no amicable divorce settlement between London and Brussels.

The paper warns that the current EU Pet Passport program which allows owners to take dogs, cats and ferrets to another EU country as long as it has a microchip and a rabies vaccination would end.

READ ALSO: Britons in France must start preparing for the worst

Under the current scheme pet owners only have to take their animal to a vet at least 21 days before they travel but the event of a no-deal Brexit that appointment would have to be made months in advance.

This is what the government warns will happen after March 29th, 2019 if there's no deal:

“If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal, it would become a third country for the purposes of the EU Pet Travel Scheme.

“Pets would continue to be able to travel from the UK to the EU, but the requirements for documents and health checks would differ depending on what category of third country the UK becomes on the day we leave the EU. Within the Pet Travel Scheme, there are three categorisations of ‘third country’, linked to a country’s animal health status: ‘listed: Part 1’, ‘listed: Part 2’, or ‘unlisted’.

“Third countries apply to the European Commission to be listed under Part 1 or Part 2 of Annex II to EU Pet Travel Regulations. A small number of countries and territories are Part 1 listed, which means they operate under the same EU Pet Travel Scheme rules as EU member states. The majority of countries are Part 2 listed, which means additional conditions, such as the use of temporary health certificates. If a country has not applied or been accepted as a Part 1 or Part 2 listed country, it is an unlisted third country, and owners must take some specific actions several months before they wish to travel.

“We are seeking technical discussions with the European Commission to allow the UK to become a listed third country on the day we leave the EU. We will continue to press the Commission to discuss this option with us. However, to allow effective contingency planning, this notice explains the impacts of all three different types of third country status in terms of the EU Pet Travel Scheme.”

So everything would depend on what kind of country the UK is listed as after Brexit. Pet owners will be hoping it will be as a Part 1 listed country.

The government added: “Should the UK become an unlisted third country, pet owners intending to travel with their pet from the UK to EU countries would need to discuss preparations for their pet’s travel with an Official Veterinarian (OV) at least four months in advance of the date they wish to travel. This means pet owners intending to travel to the EU on 30 March 2019 would need to discuss requirements with their vet before the end of November 2018.”

To read more from the government click here.

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BRITS IN EUROPE

Brits in Europe won right to vote for life in UK but questions remain

After years of campaigns and promises British citizens living abroad finally won the lifelong right to vote in UK general elections in April 2022. But campaigners say more needs to be done to allow all those Britons abroad to be able cast their votes easily.

Brits in Europe won right to vote for life in UK but questions remain

What’s in the law?

The Elections Act 2022 introduced several changes to the current legislation on electoral participation. Among these, it removed the rule by which British citizens lose their voting rights in the UK if they have lived abroad for more than 15 years

The new rules also abolished the requirement to have been previously registered in the UK electoral roll to become an overseas voter. In addition, the registration in the electoral roll will now last up to three years instead of only one year.

It is estimated that these changes could increase the number of overseas voter registrations by some 3 million. But the way new measures will be applied in practice is still to be defined.

READ ALSO: ‘Mixed feelings’ – British citizens in Europe finally get right to vote for life

Defining the practicalities

Under the new law, Britons living abroad will have to register to vote in the last place they were registered in the UK. This means that people who have never lived in the UK will be ineligible to vote, regardless of how long they have been overseas, while those who left when they were children will be able to use a parent or guardian’s address.

But given that the UK does not require residents to register with local councils, how to prove previous UK residence? “Typical documents accepted as a proof of residence are Council tax or utilities bills, but not everyone will have them or will have kept them in an international move,” says Fiona Godfrey, co-founder of the British in Europe coalition.

Ballot papers are pictured in stacks in a count centre as part of the 2019 UK general election. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP)

Other questions concern how people will effectively cast their ballot. UK citizens overseas will be able to vote by post or by proxy or in person at their polling station if they are in the UK at the time of the election. However, few people are likely to travel to the UK for an election and in the past there have problems and delays with postal voting.

The Electoral Commission has recommended that overseas electors appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf. But who could that be for people who have been away from their constituency for a long time?

New secondary legislation will have to answer these questions, defining how to be included in the electoral roll and how to exercise the voting right in practice.

According to British in Europe, the government should present draft legislation in the first half of the year so that the parliament can adopt it before summer and registrations of overseas voters can start in the autumn.

British in Europe survey

British in Europe are currently running a survey to understand the difficulties UK citizens abroad may face in the registration and voting process, as well as their intention to participate in elections.

The survey asks for instance which documents people can access to prove their previous residence in the UK, what problems they had voting in the past, and if and how they plan to vote in the future.

“We need to get an up-to-date picture of British citizens living around the world and have information to make recommendations to the government, as it prepares secondary legislation,” Godfrey said. “If millions of people will exercise their voting rights, there will be consequences for council registration offices, post office and authorities that will manage the process, among other things” she argued.

The right to vote concerns only UK parliamentary elections and national referendums, not elections in the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, or at local level.

The survey is open to UK citizens living anywhere in the world and is available at this link.

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