Securing the rights of British expats in Europe is one of the main aims of Prime Minister Theresa May once she has triggered Article 50 to uncouple the UK from the European Union.
The intention was spelled out in the long-awaited Brexit White Paper policy document finally published by the government.
However, the policy document is more of a skeleton wish-list than a detailed road-map of how Britain will accomplish the desired Brexit goals.
The paper repeats the vague intentions May outlined in her keynote Brexit speech to foreign diplomats a few weeks ago.
What Britain wants
The negotiation goals include:
- Agreeing to secure the futures of around 2 million British expats scattered across the EU and 3 million EU expats in the UK ‘at the earliest’
- To pull out of the EU single market in favour of setting up a free trade agreement with no tariffs on goods and services moving across the Channel
- New border controls to reduce the number of expats coming into the country that also recognises the need to attract skilled workers and ‘genuine’ students
- Cutting ties with the European Courts of Justice and bringing judicial control under the UK legal system
- Making passing across the Eire/Northern Ireland border as ‘seamless as possible’
- Devolving more financial and law-making powers to regional assemblies as Europe is stripped of control over British sovereignty
The White Paper will be subject of a vote among MPS and the House of Lords. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has already pledged a meaningful debate and vote that could see Parliament sending May back to the negotiating table if Britain does not get the deal that is wanted.
Sting in the tail
The 77-page document also has a sting in the tail obviously meant as a warning to politicians in the EU.
“We will ensure that our economic and other functions can continue, including by passing legislation as necessary to mitigate the effects of failing to reach a deal,” reads the last sentence of the last chapter.
What this means is not explained, but could be read as a veiled threat that no is better than a bad deal, as May has stated previously.