All 6 entries tagged Brexit

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May 09, 2017

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, response to my original letter

Follow-up to further response by D Dalton MEP from Rudo's blog

This is the reponse received via Mr Dalton's letter to the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (formatting is mine, but closely follows the original PDF):

3 May 2017


Thank you for your letter of 24 April, regarding the UK's decision to leave the EU. I am responding on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Mr Roemer has raised a number of concerns, which I will answer in turn.


The Prime Minister underlined in her letter to the President of the European Council that we should seek an early agreement on the rights of UK nationals in the EU and EU nationals in the UK on a reciprocal basis. We have been clear that we should always put citizens first. This is a priority issue for the forthcoming negotiations.

We remain full members of the EU for the next two years, and subject to all the rights and obligations of membership. There will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK, or UK nationals living in the EU, while the UK remains in the EU.

The arrangements in relation to the movement of EU citizens into the UK after exit are, of course, matters that the Home Office is currently looking at, and they will be subject to discussion by Parliament.

We want to reach an agreement as early as possible. As soon as the other Member States have agreed the negotiating mandate for the Commission we want to start discussing this issue.
Please let me reassure your constituent that EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least 5 years automatically have a permanent right to reside. EU nationals also have the right to reside in the UK with their family members and be treated equally to UK nationals if they are studying, working, self-employed or self-sufficient.

EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least 6 years are eligible to apply for British citizenship if they would like to do so.


The UK will remain an open and tolerant country, one that recognises the valuable contribution migrants make to our society and welcomes those with the skills and expertise to make our nation better still.

Social Security Benefits and Pension

The UK State Pension, along with other social security benefits is payable based on the UK National Insurance contributions that have been paid. Nationality or citizenship does not form part of the criteria for the award of State Pension.

Access to Education

The UK will always welcome genuine students and those with the skills and expertise to make our nation better still. We have already confirmed that existing EU students and those starting courses in 2016-17 and 2017-18 will continue to be eligible for student loans and home fee status for the duration of their course. We have also confirmed that research councils will continue to fund postgraduate students from the EU whose courses start in 2017-18.
The Government also recognises the important contribution made by students and academics from EU Member States to the UK's world class universities. A global UK must also be a country that looks to the future.
Please pass on my thanks to your constituent for taking the time to write and I hope that this answers Mr Roemer's questions.


further response by D Dalton MEP

Follow-up to Reponse by Daniel Dalton MEP (and Anthea McIntyre MEP) from Rudo's blog

Today I received a reply from Mr Dalton's contact to the UK government (formatting removed, "copy of the reponse" in next follow-up):

Dear Mr Roemer

Further to my last email of 12th April 2017, you recall I sent a copy of your email to the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

As promised, I enclose for your information a copy of the response that I have received from the relevant Minister.

Yours sincerely,
Daniel Dalton MEP

Daniel Dalton
Conservative MEP for the West Midlands
Tel: 01926 930683
Twitter - @ddalton40

April 20, 2017

Response by Kirty Murrel on behalf of Jill Seymour (MEP)

Follow-up to Brexit 2019, what I expect, letter to my local MP, Mr Chris White (Warwick and Leamington) from Rudo's blog

Received: 11 April 2017

Dear Mr Roemer,

Thank you for your email to Jill Seymour MEP.

There are many negotiations and decisions to be taken before we leave the European Union and Jill will certainly take into account all the wishes and concerns of her constituents before leaving in 2019.

The proposal from Mr Verhofstadt needs further clarification on how this might work and what costs will be involved. This will no doubt become clear during the negotiation process.

Kind regards,

Kirsty Murrell
Office Administrator
Office of Jill Seymour MEP
Telford Office: 01952 924040

Reponse by Daniel Dalton MEP (and Anthea McIntyre MEP)

Follow-up to Brexit 2019, what I expect, letter to my local MP, Mr Chris White (Warwick and Leamington) from Rudo's blog

Received: April 20th, 2017. Please note that I had also sent a similar letter to all local MEPs, hence Mr Dalton's reply.

Dear Mr Roemer,

Thank you for your email and for the very detailed report regarding yours and your family's circumstances. As the Conservative MEP responsible for correspondence from your area, I will respond on behalf of myself and Anthea McIntyre MEP.

I very much share your concerns and desire to avoid future situations such as those you describe, and you are correct that UK MEPs do have a part to play, particularly as they will vote on the final agreement between the UK and the EU. Additionally, I and my colleagues continue to meet regularly with both UK government ministers and European officials and will argue for as generous and wide an agreement on citizens rights as possible, which is also in our mutual economic interests, as well as being the right thing to do.

I personally share some of your concerns, as my wife is German and we would very much like to both live in the UK post Brexit. So I personally am aware of these issues and the uncertainty surrounding them. I can not however offer you any answers at this stage. The Uk government has made it clear that it is their aim to preserve the existing residency rights of EU citizens currently working and living in the Uk. However to date, the EU has refused to offer the same guarantees for Uk citizens living in the EU. However I am confident that both sides want the same outcome on this issue and I believe that the principle of this will be agreed soon after the negotiations begin. However, as you point out in your email, the issue is much more complex. Pension rights, welfare provisions, access to the NHS, rights of non EU spouses and family members, requirements for gaining indefinite leave to remain and citizenship all need to be addressed.
I would also suggest that it is worth talking to the German authorities with regards to the issue you raise regarding Germany's treatment of immigrants and in particular the fact that Germany does not allow dual nationality for non EU countries, which may also impact on German nationals living in the Uk post Brexit.
However, as I can not offer you any answers at the moment, particularly regarding the issues you raise concerning residency, work, social benefits, access to education, pension and citizenship, I believe such a matter needs to be raised directly with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. I will therefore be writing to him on your behalf.

As soon as I receive a response from the Secretary of State, I will be in touch with you.

Kind regards,
Daniel Dalton MEP

April 10, 2017

Brexit 2019, what I expect, letter to my local MP, Mr Chris White (Warwick and Leamington)

Mr Chris White

MP for Warwick and Leamington

10 April 2017

Dear Mr White,

Let me introduce myself as Professor of Physics at the University of Warwick and a German citizen. I hold 3 doctorates from three different universities in 3 countries. My research experience has spanned three continents (USA 1989–1990, 1992–1994, India 1994–1995, Germany 1996–2002, UK 2002–present, China 2015-present). I am author of more than 160 scientific publications, have given more than 140 invited talks and made more than 80 conference presentations. I am Co-Editor of various scientific journals, serve as secretary and treasurer of the Institute of Physics’ Theory of Condensed Matter group, am external under- and postgraduate course examiner at UK and international universities, regularly review UK, EU and international grant proposals and have thus far organized 20+ conferences with national and international remit.

I am, I hope you agree, one of the those “highly skilled European workers” that the UK government wants to attract and retain after the recent decision to leave the EU by 2019. Let me therefore take this opportunity to outline to you what I expect to happen in the UKs negotiations with the EU for me to continue to consider the UK an attractive place to work and live. I hope that you will find the letter instructive since I think it highlights some of the complexities associated with the decision to leave the EU. I will concentrate purely on my personal family circumstances and note that the issue of the UK’s continued involvement in the EU’s research area has been brought to parliament’s attention by various previous routes.

In order to be specific, let me state that our family came to the UK in 2002 after I had been offered an academic position at Warwick. We accepted the offer particularly because of the attractiveness of an academic position inside the EU. My wife originates from a non-EU/EEA country and our daughter was 2 years old at the time of our arrival in the UK. We own a house (via a mortgage) in Warwick.


- At present, we reside in the UK due to the applicable EU treaties on free movement. I understand that these are likely to cease being applicable from 2019 onwards. It is therefore mandatory that the shape of any new residency regulations is being made public as soon as possible. I travel regularly, mostly work related, and it must be clear at least one year in advance of the UK’s leaving the EU in 2019 what other residency regulations will be put in place. If, for example, the UK would want current EU residents to apply for residency status under current or any future regulations, then this must be made clear as soon as possible. I note that no such guidance has been offered thus far, leading to contradictory and misleading advice from immigration lawyers. Let me also state that the current 85-page residency application document of the Home Office is not fit for service and its online version does, for example, not apply to my wife nor my daughter.

- I hope it is not necessary to point out that by leaving the EU, the UK has put itself in direct worldwide competition for academics with other countries. To illustrate the point, I am writing this letter while on a visiting professorship at a Chinese university.


- I would expect to being able to continue to work in the UK under the same conditions as of now. I would not want to be made to reapply to my current position as part of any home office “crackdown on immigrants”, nor would I want to be subject to lengthy paperwork simply to continue doing the work I am already doing.

- My wife has been enjoying a full work permit since we came in 2002. She only started to work once our daughter was somewhat older, but she now regularly works in the local schools in the Warwick and Leamington Spa area. We would clearly expect her to be able to continue to work in the UK from 2019 onwards.

Social benefits

- In the initial years at Warwick, we received child benefit, but no other social benefits. After 15 years in the UK, with all taxes, national insurance, etc. paid, I expect that my family will be able to enjoy all benefits of a UK national in a similar situation. This is, in particular, in the hopefully unlikely situation, that we would need to apply for jobseeker and/or similar such benefits in the future.

- We currently enjoy full access to the NHS’ services. I had little need to use these until a motorbike accident last year. I would expect that we will continue to have full access to the NHS without additional payment or restrictions.

- Furthermore, as part of the current EU membership privileges of the UK, were we to move back to Germany, our contributions to the UK’s social benefits would be counted towards any potential such benefits in Germany. I would expect that this agreement continues to be honored by both sides after 2019.

Access to education

- Our daughter is currently in her penultimate year at A level, set to graduate in 2018. She will then look for a place at a university. At present, we are considering UK, German and other EU universities. She has a German but no UK passport. We are now concerned that (i) she might have to pay higher university fees in the UK if she were to stay here. Or, (ii) if she were to go and study in the EU, whether she will be able to return to the UK after her 4-5 years abroad? Obviously, we feel strongly that being able for our daughter to continue to come back to the UK after her studies abroad is a crucial issue determining our future in the UK as a family.


- We do enjoy living in the UK at present. However, upon retirement in 15+ years, we might very well want to return to Germany or indeed, my wife’s home. At present, EU regulations safeguard my pension rights in Germany and the UK. I would want to see that these regulations are being kept and safeguarded for any current EU national in the UK.

- In order to contribute towards my family’s financial security and to supplement our retirement, I have been contributing to a life insurance in Germany since the mid-1990s. It is my understanding that it is current EU law which enables insurance providers to offer their services across EU boundaries. I fear that the insurance company might take the opportunity to cancel the contract when the UK leaves the EU in 2019 (which would be financially beneficial to them). I am therefore asking you to make sure that such existing contracts are being safeguarded in the Brexit negotiations.

Citizenship and disenfranchisement

- Until now, we EU citizen in the UK were welcomed as fellow EU citizen, giving us shared rights and responsibilities. I fear that upon leaving the EU, we will revert to being “foreigners”, or, indeed, “immigrants”. It must be clear that for people with choice of their destination, this is not an acceptable long-term situation. The UK should therefore think hard and innovatively about a way to make such people welcome. If we were to be offered, for example, a quick and easy route to UK citizenship, we would most likely take it. However, the present such system is not attractive as it seems designed to keep people out rather than to welcoming them in.

- The current 3 million EU citizen in the UK are most likely to stay in the UK at least in the short-term. This is already clear from the UK’s need to safeguard its own citizen now in the EU. However, the long-term perspective is less clear. Allow me, as a German national, to suggest that Germany’s treatment of its own, mostly Turkish, immigrant population has not been beneficial to either party. In particular, Germany’s reluctance to grant quick and easy access to citizenship status has led to a core of disenfranchised German-born nominally non-Germans living somewhat isolated in the heart of Germany. The UK would do well to avoid this trap. In this context, I would find it useful if continued voting rights in local elections could be extended to EU citizen in the UK. It is practice at present, has led to no discernible loss of democracy or large-scale local power shifts that I am aware of and is a great way to engage EU citizen in their local communities. Indeed, my wife, as citizen of a Commonwealth country, enjoys already much more inclusive voting rights.

- I have been distressed that, after the Brexit vote last year, parliament has yet to engage with EU citizens in the UK in a broad and inclusive manner. While much importance had been attached to calls for evidence from parliament on the impact of the Brexit vote for UK businesses, UK financial services and UK higher education institutions, I am yet to see a proactive initiative by parliament and, indeed, you as a local MP, to directly engage with the 3M EU citizens currently in your care. This lack of interest does not bode well for the future.

The UK decided to leave the EU. I respect that decision although I did not wish for it to happen. It is now the UK’s responsibility to make sure it has an offer in place to make it attractive for my family to remain after 2019. Such an offer should be in place soon. We will of course follow the EU-UK negotiations with interest, but our family’s future will be decided by how quickly, fairly and welcoming the UK engages with us as current residents and, hopefully, valuable assets it wishes to retain.

Yours faithfully,

Rudolf A Roemer


PhD, Dr. rer. nat. habil., DSc, FInstP

January 09, 2017

A personal view and explanation of the EU rules on free movement

Writing about web page

The free movement of EU nationals has in recent years come under increasing scrutiny due to alleged misuses and the rise of the immigration issue. Indeed, it was a central theme of the Brexit campaigns run in the UK with themes such as "take back control of our frontiers". It was quite surprising to me to find that in the discussions leading to and even after the Brexit vote in the UK, the rationale for the freedom of movement, as one of the "four freedoms of the EU", was never fully explained to sceptical voters. In this blog, I will try to give my reasons as to why I see freedom of movement indeed as central to the European idea and an essential part of the other three freedoms.

Let me start by recalling what the four freedoms actually are:

[1] free movement of goods. "Goods", i.e. things that have to be grown or made, can be manufactured anywhere in the EU and sold at any other place in the EU without internal custom tariffs.

[2] freedom of movement for workers. This guarantees every EU citizen in pursuit of a job the right to move freely, to stay and to work in another member state with the right to be treated on equal footing as nationals of their chosen member state.

[3] freedom to provide (and establish) services. "Services" covers a wide field, but for our purposes it suffices to say it encompasses all services that a modern civic society might need, such as e,g, insurance, repairs, warranty, health, etc.

[4] free movement of capital. Largely, this deals with the movement of finances and their services across national boundaries.

Why does the EU need these four freedoms and could one imagine an EU without some or parts of these?

Free movement of goods is not sufficient: Fundamentally, the freedom of goods is what the EU started with in the 1950s, albeit with a much reduced set of goods. Some people argue that a free movement of goods would be sufficient for a European community. However, it should be immediately obvious that this is not the case. Once you have been able to sell your goods across a national boundary, you surely would want to bring at least some of the profits back home. If there was no free movement of capital, this would usually lead to additional charges, such as in the case of trading according to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, cutting profits and making investment hard. Therefore freedom 1 implies freedom 4.

Free movement of goods and capital is not sufficient either: Now imagine that you are selling a product across a national boundary (such as, e.g., a car or a TV set or a shirt). Eventually, you will need to service your product. Indeed, much of your profit margin might even lie in this service aspect of your product. However, without the freedom to provide and establish services, this would again be much harder. Your service for your, e.g. TV set, would without freedom 3 be substandard to your competitors in the country your are selling your product since you cannot provide your service and have to reply with lengthy postal/delivery delays or use an alternative service provider.

Now imagine a EU in which only freedoms 1, 3 and 4 hold, i.e. everything but no freedom of movement. Suppose you manufacture jam and scones. Another EU competitor can, via freedom 1, provide these as well and also sell them in your country via, e.g., a franchise system using freedom 3. Since all trade barriers have fallen, the competitors costs are the same as yours and, since they are more productive (for whatever local reasons), they make more profit which they can easily take back into their home EU country. If this is the case, you will eventually go bankrupt.

This is where freedom 2, the freedom of movement, helps. You can take advantage of the same local productivity gains as your competitor by moving into the same local region. Perhaps your competitor was closer to the fruit-rich areas, perhaps they had land with higher potato yield. No matter, you can do the same and move there. If your role in the jam-and-scones business was as employee, then freedom of movement allows you to go to the more competitive manufacturer in the other EU country and apply for a position there. You do not have to take the decline of your local jam-and-scones business without any options, because of freedom of movement.

Now, I agree that the examples provided above are simple. However, I think they are correct in providing the essential rationale for why only all four freedoms can provide a fair and stable European "community" market. It appears simply impossible to me to take away one of the four freedoms without jeopardizing the whole edifice. Last, one can obviously trade between countries and move goods and services as well as capital with countries that are not part of the EU. However, this is much harder to do and there are obstacles nearly everywhere along the way.

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