A group of British expats has filed a legal challenge against the European Commission at the General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg.
The group, Fair Deal for Expats, is seeking the annulment of a “Presidential Order” given by the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, after the Brexit referendum that there should be no negotiations with the UK until after Article 50 has been triggered.
The purpose of the challenge is to allow the UK to negotiate freely with the European Commission before Article 50 is triggered, so that the outline terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU can be agreed in everyone’s interests and as soon as possible. Around 1.2 million British born citizens live in other EU countries and their lives will be affected by the outcome.
In a speech made in the European Parliament shortly after the referendum, Mr Juncker declared: “I have completely forbidden – Presidential order, and this is not my style – Commissioners to discuss with representatives of the UK government. ‘In or out’; ‘leave or remain’. I’ve told to all General Directors that there cannot be any discussion ahead with British government representatives. No notification, no negotiation!”
Fair Deal for Expats spokesman, John Shaw, said: “People in Britain and across Europe have become accustomed to Mr Juncker’s antagonistic style and bombastic rhetoric. But his dictatorial-style bullying tactics will not be tolerated. Enough is enough”.
Mr Shaw continued: “Mr Juncker is urging Britain to trigger Article 50 sooner rather than later, but he’s not entitled to issue edicts preventing the UK from having discussions with the Commission. He’s forgetting that the UK is still a Member State.”
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will trigger Article 50 by the end of March and has warned the EU against trying to expel the 1.2 million British expats living in Europe.
It has been hinted that to do so could lead to retaliatory action against the estimated 3.6 million EU citizens now in the UK.
Fair Deal for Expats was set up to represent the interests of British expats who live in other EU countries.
Article published 10th October 2016