By Nigel Green, CEO of deVere Group
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator accused Boris Johnson of only ‘pretending to negotiate’ as the UK’s scheduled exit date draws nearer. The ex-Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd quit the government earlier this month as it was having no formal negotiations with the EU about a new deal.
And, perhaps most controversially, parliament has been suspended in what looks like an attempt to stop MPs from blocking a no-deal Brexit.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that, despite his protestations to the contrary, the Prime Minister simply isn’t trying to get a new deal for the UK to leave the EU. It appears he is dragging Britain to a cliff-edge Brexit and the country will crash out in a no-deal scenario on 31 October.
This would disproportionately impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of British expats in the EU. It is likely their pensions, insurance and healthcare will be affected overnight. Hundreds of thousands of British pensioners living in Europe could see their retirement income disrupted or completely stopped in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
“Boris Johnson’s nonchalant Brexit gamble and apparent lack of effort in securing a deal is, at best, risky and cruel.”
At the moment Britons who have retired in the EU seamlessly receive private pension payments into bank accounts in their country of residence. This is possible due to a reciprocal arrangement of EU laws between their UK pension provider and their European-based bank, through a process known as passporting.
A no-deal Brexit would put an end to passporting, so a British pension provider would not automatically have the right to make payments in the pension holder’s home country. The end of passporting would also hit insurance companies who might be unable to payout to their customers in the EU.
In addition, Britons who have retired in EU countries might lose annual increases to their state pensions if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. The government would continue paying the annual increases for three years in such a scenario, but it gives no guarantees after that. The state pension is currently uprated each year by the higher of either wage growth, inflation or 2.5 per cent.
Looking at social security for expats in the EU, access to benefits will depend upon the host country’ immigration policy and the conditions of any bilateral social security pact it has with the UK. Reciprocity could disappear under a no-deal scenario.
Crashing out of the EU would mean the current reciprocal healthcare, shared by the UK and the EU member states, would no longer apply. A no-deal Brexit is going to adversely and disproportionately impact the 1.3 million Brits living in the EU. Boris Johnson’s nonchalant Brexit gamble and apparent lack of effort in securing a deal is, at best, risky and cruel.