The Brief, powered by The International Bromine Council (BSEF) – Carte de séjour

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In what can be seen as a replay of the Salzburg summit, European leaders had dinner last night without British PM Theresa May, while negotiations stumbled yet again over the Irish border issue. Meanwhile, other EU countries are quietly gearing up to meet the March 2019 deadline. France chief among them.

On 3 October, the French parliament’s upper house published a draft bill that will introduce an obligation for British citizens to get a visa to enter France and a working and residence permit called the ‘carte de séjour’ should the UK leave the European Union without an agreement.

“In the event of withdrawal by the United Kingdom without agreement, British nationals who enjoy the right of free movement and free establishment throughout the European Union, as well as members of their family, will become nationals of third parties and will therefore in principle be subject to common law, that is to say to the requirement to present a visa to enter the French territory and to justify a residence permit to stay there,” the draft bill reads.

The French ‘sénateurs’ also said in diplomatic yet clear terms that they will be looking carefully to see how the United Kingdom will treat French residents in case the UK drops out without a deal.

“The (French) government is very attentive to the situation and the rights of French nationals living in the United Kingdom. The Government will take appropriate measures relating to the situation of British nationals in France. It will take into account the status granted by the United Kingdom to our nationals on its territory,” the document says.

Already, British citizens living and working in France have problems or concerns related to the paperwork and criteria required for obtaining a residency card.

But there is one who is REALLY not concerned about that:  former Brexit champion Nigel Lawson, who used to chair the Vote Leave campaign.

Because he lives in France (in the south-western Gers department), he is applying for the French carte de séjour.

In an act reminiscent of aristocratic pedantry, he called the administrative procedure ‘tiresome’.

Adding hypocrisy to pedantry, he went on to say that he was not worried about the required paperwork because he already lives there.

Asked if he was concerned about the impact of EU immigration controls, after European officials warned that Britain’s new blue passports could lead to travel delays and extra paperwork rather than the enhanced freedom promised by the government, he replied:

“I’m not particularly familiar with it, but as I live in France, I’m not concerned. There may be a few bureaucratic hoops to be gone through, which are tiresome, but I don’t think it’s a serious problem”.

“I understand some people are worried about healthcare cover and hope it will be sorted out. Speaking as a Brit in France – and I’m not applying for French nationality – I am not worried,” he said.

Reactions were quick, and not complimentary.

Peter Timmins, who describes himself on Twitter as a “blissfully retired European, living life to the full in the south-west of France” summed up the feeling this attitude evokes:

“Lord Lawson, the pro-#Brexit peer who lives in France but wants to deny other UK citizens the right to freely work or retire here, has applied for a carte de séjour to facilitate permanent settled status post #Brexit. One rule for him, another for the rest.”

To drive the point home, he ended up with a few French expletives we won’t repeat here. But go and check for yourself.


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The Roundup

By Alexandra Brzozowski

It had been touted as the EU summit for Brexit breakthroughs, but as talks stalled due to lack of progress, British PM May and the EU now consider extending the transition period to break the Brexit impasse. As always, one familiar face strolled the corridors of the Council building.

The mood after the Brexit dinner was very relaxed as some of the EU leaders enjoyed a beer on Brussels’ brightest square. One, however, was not invited (by accident?).

Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Salvini is considering running for the Commission top job if a coalition of nationalist groups wins the next EU elections. ‘At home’ in Moscow, he meanwhile denounced EU sanctions on Russia.

At the EU summit, Bulgaria’s Boyko Borissov deplored ‘terrible’ Russian cyberattacks that had targeted his country before its EU presidency.

Meanwhile, the US blames Europe for lack of progress in trade talks and threatens tariffs on European cars. EU retailers also pressure MEPs to kill unfair trade practices proposals.

Hungary’s maverick PM, Viktor Orbán, took the gloves off and challenged his EPP party at a pre-summit meeting, sending his fellow centre-right party colleagues a ‘take it or leave it’ message.

Diplomatic tensions flared up between Spain and Belgium after Flemish and Spanish authorities traded accusations over Spain’s handling of Catalonia’s illegal declaration of independence and imprisonment of separatists.

Support for the EU is at its highest level since 26 years in France. However, this enthusiasm is not reflected in the projections for turnout at the next European elections.

Around one-fifth of Serbian citizens want to emigrate in search of a better life and better-paying jobs, according to a new survey.

EU lawmakers back a 35% CO2 cut for trucks by 2030. Global carbon emissions will rise to a new record level in 2018, making the chances of reaching a target to keep temperature increases to 1.5 or 2°C “weaker and weaker every year, every month.”

Twitter published a trove of some 10 million tweets that it said are potentially the product of state-backed operations by Russia and Iran, shedding new light on the scale and nature of misinformation campaigns.

It’s caption competition time again! What did Matteo Salvini say to Marine Le Pen? Tweet us your best here, maybe we’ll feature your effort in The Brief.

Look out for…

The seven-summits-week ending with the ASEM, EU-Korea and EU-ASEAN meetings.

Views are the author’s

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