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Official speeches and statements - February 6, 2020

Published on February 6, 2020

1. Brexit - Situation of British residents in France - Reply by Mr. Laurent Nuñez, Minister of State attached to the Minister of the Interior, to a question in the National Assembly (Paris - February 4, 2020)

Indeed, at midnight on Friday the British left the European Union, beginning a transition period during which discussions will be held, as Amélie de Montchalin and Didier Guillaume have explained - I won’t return to that, because those issues don’t come under my remit.

Brexit actually has one immediate effect: the loss of the right to vote and stand for office of British citizens living on French territory. More than 46,000 British citizens have therefore been automatically removed from the electoral roll by INSEE, the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. The President of the Association of Mayors of France was informed of this by the Interior Minister, and a circular was sent to prefects [high-ranking civil servants representing the state at departmental or regional level], then to mayors, so that they can warn the voters concerned. This is unfortunately the consequence of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Likewise, 757 current municipal councillors may now retain their seats only until the municipal elections in March, when they won’t be able to stand. We may regret the British decision, but the immediate consequence is the one you’ve described, and no discussion is possible regarding this aspect of citizenship.

However, I want to recall two things. The first is that it’s obviously possible for these people to apply for French nationality, which, as you know, Britons are increasingly doing : 1,500 of them did so in 2016 and 4,000 in 2019. The requirements for obtaining nationality are the same for EU nationals as for those of non-EU countries.

Secondly, we’re adapting the practical arrangements for obtaining residence permits, because British citizens will now have to possess one: until July 2021, applications can be made via a platform we’ve created to facilitate them.