February 2018 newsletter: updates from the Brexit Brits Abroad team

Read the latest updates from the project team in this month’s newsletter! If you want to keep up-to-date with the project, you can always subscribe to our newsletter here.


News about Brexit and UK citizens in the EU27

There are some exciting developments that you might be interested if you don’t already know about them.

The first of these is the ruling by the District Court of Amsterdam referring to the Court of Justice of the European Union the case brought by QC Jolyon Maugham and Brexpats HOV focussed on the question of whether UK citizens should be entitled to keep their EU citizenship rights after Brexit. This has implications not only for UK citizens who have already exercised their treaty rights, but for the entire UK citizen population who might find themselves in a position of keeping their EU citizenship despite Brexit.

The second is not really about Brexit, or about Brexit in as much as this seems to have inspired renewed interest in the issue. Friday 23rd February sees the second reading of the Overseas’ Electors Bill 2017-19. This is a bill that sets out to extend the vote for life to overseas-resident UK citizens. We’ll report back in the next newsletter.

An update on the research

The year started off with Karen spending a month in Spain, talking Brexit with UK citizens who have made their homes and lives there. Michaela spent a few days visiting Lisbon for pleasure, eating pastel de nata and taking photos of the city. She also got to meet Ellie, the author of one of our most-read contributions to our Meet the #britsinEurope feature.

Now we are into the eighth month of the project, we thought it was a good moment to take stock of everything we have been doing and report back.

Our conversations with UK citizens in France and Spain have been going really well; between them Michaela, Karen and Mike, have conducted over 100 interviews, talking with about 200 people. For those unfamiliar with interview-based research, this is quite a lot to do in such a short period of time! The research doesn’t end there … we are now working closely with the transcripts to draw out the key themes within these.

The citizens’ panel now has over 150 people recruited. Katherine and Chantelle are doing an excellent job of keeping people engaged; the latest directive asked people to reflect on whether they felt that the December agreements between UK and EU negotiators about citizens’ rights had left them reassured. We were staggered by how quickly people responded with their thoughts and are currently in the process of writing a short piece based on this to be included in a report co-authored with the Migration Policy Institutethat will be circulated to members of the European Parliament before the next sitting of the European Council.


What’s new from the project team?

For those who missed it, between Christmas and New Year, we ran the 12 days of Brexit Brits Abroad series including: a new page of resources for British abroad; 6 micro-podcasts busting myths about Brits abroad in EU; new blogposts from the project team including Chantelle’s writing about UK citizens of colour who have made their homes and lives in the EU27, Michaela’s reflections on her recent research in Toulouse, and Katherine’s poetic celebration of the contributions from our citizens’ panel.

Our new podcasts for January and February, focus on questions of Britishness among UK citizens living in the EU27 and bring in the sociology of things! First up was Michaela, discussing how Brexit has changed how those taking part in the research in France feel about being British. We followed this with Michaela and Karen talking about the contradictory relationship between Britain and Europe, and how this plays out in the ways Britons in Spain, historically, talked about their lives there. This was also the theme of Karen’s blog, Doing the Hokey Cokey. Our next podcast lands on Friday 23rd February, and will see this theme of Britishness taken up by Chantelle as she talk through her research with UK citizens of colour living in the EU27.

The research has has also been picked up in several English-language news outlets in Spain and France. And Michaela has now presented initial analyses from the research to colleagues in the department of Sociology at the London School of Economics and the Sussex Centre for Migration Research.

We are also currently in the process of developing some new resources for UK citizens living in the EU27 so watch this space!

A final message from the project team

A really big thanks to all of those who have been in touch and are  interested in the research! And just a reminder that we are on twitter and Facebook, and regularly add new content to the project blog.