It’s finally out. The first detailed proposal on the post-Brexit status of the EU citizens that have made the UK their adoptive home.

It has been and still is a stressful time for us trapped on the wrong side of the channel, but we welcomed some clarity as a starting point of this summer’s negotiations.

In a nutshell, the proposal seeks to mirror the set of rights enjoyed by British citizens, with some important differences. The “settled” status will be similar to the indefinite leave to remain currently available to non-EU citizens.

It will not be automatically granted, citizens will have to apply for it, including those who have already obtained a permanent residence card. Remember that many people have spent thousands of pounds on legal counselling to get through their PR process, which is incredibly burdensome even for the most straightforward case.

EU citizens would then have to apply for citizenship in order to gain the right to vote and to move away from the UK for more than 2 years, which would cause the loss of their settled status under the current proposal.

A bad deal for those who are posted abroad but might want to maintain their roots in the country, whether it’s because they own a home, or because they have family and friends.

Another idea that has caused quite a stir is to introduce an ID card for EU citizens only, which they will have to carry to prove that they have the right to stay.

Obviously as long as this applies to migrants only it will be seen as a form of discrimination.

Many European countries, such as Italy, my home country, have an ID scheme in place, and nobody sees it as an abuse of privacy.

But the UK is traditionally hostile to the idea, and testing the measure on migrants is seen as a suspicious move.

Our guest today dives into the complexities of this proposal and helps us make clarity on what it entails. He is Simon Usherwood with the University of Surrey, a senior lecturer in Politics with almost two decades of experience in eurosceptic movements.

Simon has a great podcast about Britain and its troubled relationship with the European Union: A Diet of Brussels. Check it out.

In this interview, he also reveals a little secret on the twists and turns of the UK’s negotiating style: one of the (previously) fiercest opponents of the ID idea is a name that you will recognise and will make you go ‘wow!’

 

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