As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Brexit is currently heading for a cliff in Great Britain, with the Prime Minister’s negotiated deal having very little support on either side of the aisle and a Parliamentary vote on it only weeks away. Barring some major turn of events, most likely requiring the ouster of Theresa May, Great Britain is heading for a No Deal Brexit in March. Many analysts are focusing on the complicated trade deals that the Brits will need to craft, but there’s also a serious question of residency for citizens living in other EU nations. The current, open borders policy of the European Union mostly allows people to come and go as they wish and take up residence in a different member country with very little muss or fuss. In the event of a No Deal Brexit, that will no longer be the case for British citizens.
Germany, in particular, appears to be planning for this uncomfortable situation and is taking a somewhat worrisome approach. The government there issued a request this week for any British citizens living in Germany to “register their details” on a government website ahead of the expected diplomatic fissure. (The Local, Germany)
Last month the Berlin government announced that due to the UK’s decision to leave the EU at midnight on March 29th this year, British citizens will “in future require a residency title or some other proof of their right of residency” in order to live in Germany.
British residents in Berlin are therefore being asked to submit their details in an online form, which authorities released on Thursday.
The move has been described as “contentious” by the British in Germany (BiG) campaign group, which says it’s important to remember that Brits still have EU citizens’ rights until the leaving date. The group added, however, that it is supportive of the fact that authorities in Germany are “acting on and making public plans for both a deal and no-deal Brexit outcome”.
Whenever any government begins demanding details and assembling lists of “certain classes of people” it tends to be worrisome. When Germany does it you can expect some warning signals to be flashing in people’s minds.
Admittedly, this isn’t a legal requirement… at least not yet. For the time being, Brits are simply being “asked” to fill out the form. That situation will hold until March 29th, the anticipated date of Brexit being finalized. After that point, assuming Great Britain is indeed leaving the EU, the Berlin Foreigners Registration Office will be calling in all the UK citizens living in the country for a chat to determine their legal ability to remain in Germany.
The information they are requesting is mostly what you would expect. British residents are being asked for their full name, address, email, and occupation. They’re also being asked to explain why they are residing in Germany and if they have any relatives there.
But is this really any reason to get upset? If Great Britain takes back her full independence from the EU, those expats are going to be in the same situation as anyone else who decides to leave their native land and take up residence abroad. And Germany – along with every other EU nation – has the right to know who is living within their borders who isn’t a citizen. Germany isn’t saying they’re planning on kicking all the Brits out. In fact, the majority of them will probably be allowed to stay.
These are the complications which arise when you trade in your national sovereignty to be part of a more globalist union. The European Union retains the ability to be a useful tool for trade deals and pooling of resources, but the member nations should still be entitled to their own borders, independence and national culture. Brexit is simply exposing these realities in a jolting fashion.