Ambassador Jill Morris writes about the British government’s intention to protect the rights of British citizens in Italy and the rest of Europe, and those of EU nationals in the UK.
My role as Ambassador is to engage with the Italian government on issues such as foreign policy, security, trade and culture. But just as important is my responsibility to represent and protect the interests of UK nationals in Italy. Given the decision of the UK to leave the EU, many of you will have questions about your rights in areas such as employment, pensions and healthcare.
We have a moral responsibility towards those EU nationals who live in the UK. But clearly we owe the same responsibility to the 30,000 Britons who have made Italy their home. Guaranteeing their rights is our priority and we have sought to address this issue at the outset of the negotiations. It is important to stress that no changes will take place until the Article 50 process has concluded in March 2019.
Our intention is to enable law-abiding EU citizens who have settled in the UK before an agreed date to apply for permanent residence under British law, along with their families. That means people will be able to work and study in the UK freely. They’ll be able to access UK healthcare. And they’ll be able to claim benefits, pensions and apply for social housing on the same basis as British citizens.
Our offer has been made on the basis of reciprocity, as we want to secure equivalent guarantees for UK nationals living in the EU.
There is much common ground between the UK’s and the EU’s positions on citizens’ rights. We are both clear that we want to protect the broad range of rights and entitlements currently enjoyed by both EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU.
While there are, naturally, points on which our positions differ and details that have yet to be worked out, we are confident we can reach agreement early on.
We are seeking clarity and stability for UK nationals living in Italy and in the rest of the EU, just as we intend to secure it for EU nationals living in the UK.
The British government’s proposals can be found on:
Safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU
Since the result of the referendum last summer, the UK government has been clear how important it is that we secure, as early as possible, both the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in EU Member States.
We are now seeking to provide EU citizens with certainty about their future by publishing this white paper which sets out our offer to them.
Our negotiations with the EU have begun and we expect the EU and its Member states to make the same commitment to British nationals living in Europe.
You can find the latest information about the status of EU citizens, and their families, in the UK as the EU negotiations progress here: Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know
Rights of EU citizens in the UK: policy paper factsheet