The Latest: Dutch-based Brits get Brexit transition period
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s exit from the European Union (all times local):
The Dutch government says it will let British citizens living in the Netherlands remain in the country for 15 months in the event of a no-deal Brexit and offer them the opportunity to apply for residency permits.
The transition period announced Monday will apply to Britons and their families who are living legally in the Netherlands on March 29 - the day the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union.
Migration Minister Mark Harbers says “Britons are very welcome to live, work and study in the Netherlands - also after Brexit.”
Britons who have lived in the Netherlands for more than five years at the time of Brexit will be entitled to apply for permanent residency. Those who have lived in the country for less than five years will be able to apply for a shorter-term residency permit.
The Czech government has approved a plan to guarantee the near-term rights of British citizens in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.
The Interior Ministry says the roughly 8,000 Britons currently living in the country would retain their rights in the immediate aftermath of Brexit even if Britain crashes out of the EU in March with no deal.
The ministry says Britons would retain the same rights as the citizens of EU countries for a transitional period until Dec 31, 2020. The bill still needs parliamentary approval.
Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, but it’s unclear whether lawmakers will approve the divorce agreement Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated with the bloc. That has raised the prospect of a “no-deal” Brexit.
The Dutch government says Britons living in the Netherlands are deeply concerned about the consequences of their home country’s impending departure from the European Union.
A survey published Monday says that an overwhelming majority of the more than 45,000 British citizens living in the Netherlands are very worried about how Brexit will affect their right to live and work in the country and their ability to travel freely around Europe.
Foreign Minister Stef Blok says he understands their fears and stresses that the draft divorce deal drawn up by the EU and Britain remains the best possible deal. British lawmakers are expected to vote on the deal next week, but Prime Minister Theresa May faces a tough battle to get it through Parliament.
The survey questioned 1,419 Britons currently living in the Netherlands.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will hold more talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May this week, but has ruled out that the Brexit deal agreed on in November could be renegotiated to gain support in the British parliament.
EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Monday that the Brexit deal “on the table is the best and the only deal possible.”
May has been furiously trying to get the deal through Parliament but had to call off a vote on it last month since she was facing certain defeat. The vote is now expected for next week.
In Britain, there are still some expectations that the deal could be reviewed but Schinas said Monday “this deal will not be renegotiated.”
Britain is testing how its motorway and ferry system would handle a no-deal Brexit by sending a stream of trucks from a regional airport to the port of Dover.
The tests began Monday morning and are intended to gauge how severe the disruption would be if Britain leaves the European Union on March 29 without an agreed upon withdrawal deal.
It is expected that an abrupt departure without a deal would lead to the introduction of tariff and customs barriers that would slow fast-moving ferry and rail traffic that links Britain to continental Europe.
There are concerns that major traffic jams leading into and out of the ferry ports of Dover could greatly hamper trade.
Parliament is expected to vote on a withdrawal plan next week.