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BREXIT

More than 140,000 jobs will be lost in France in a no-deal Brexit, report says

A new report into the likely impact of a no-deal Brexit on the economy of European countries has predicted that France will lose 140,000 jobs if the UK crashes out in October.

More than 140,000 jobs will be lost in France in a no-deal Brexit, report says
Photo: AFP

The impact study commissioned by the Belgian government, showed that the UK leaving the EU without an agreement would cause major job losses in every country in Europe.

The country predicted to be worst hit by a no-deal Brexit, unsurprisingly, is the UK itself with projected job losses of 526,830 – up to five percent of its total workforce.

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But the study also predicted a significant impact on many other European countries.

Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland were shown as the worst affected in terms of job losses as a percentage of their economy, with each predicted to lose 1.3 percent to 5 percent of their jobs.

In the next category down was France, which is predicted to lose 1 percent to 1.3 percent of its jobs – up to 141,320 roles.

The report also projected the likely impact on Europe's economies in the case of the UK leaving the EU with a deal.

Although this would still impact all economies, the effect would be greatly lessened, concluded the report authors.

If the UK left with a deal it would likely lose 139,860 jobs, while France would lose 34,500 roles.

To calculate the impact, researchers defined “leaving with an agreement” as a situation where the UK leaves the EU but remains part of the internal market or the European Customs Union.

For the projected no-deal scenario, researchers assumed the UK would leave the single market and fall back on the rules of the World Trade Organisation.

Either scenario would be a blow for the French economy, which has been slowly lowering its historically high levels of unemployment.

Figures released in May showed the jobless rate at 8.8 per cent – the lowest level recorded since 2009.

The fall was seen as a positive for French president Emmanuel Macron, who has introduced reforms to make it easier for companies to hire and fire staff in the hopes that this will kick-start the labour market.

But despite the improvement, France still has one of the higher unemployment rates within the EU, and major job losses from a no-deal Brexit would undoubtedly be a blow to the economy.

In an effort to mitigate job losses, France has launched a series of effort to attract British-based businesses or organisations to France after Brexit.

Meanwhile, a separate data set published in the Financial Times this week showed how personal finances would be hit across Europe under a no-deal scenario, with the UK again worst hit.

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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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