This blog post was published under the 2015 to 2024 Conservative government

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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Austria

9th October 2018 Vienna, Austria

EU exit and rights of UK nationals in Austria

I recently appeared on the Austrian TV news show “Zeit im Bild 2”.  You can see the video below (in German).  It includes an important message on citizens’ rights.

The Prime Minister has always made clear that citizens’ rights are a priority in the Brexit negotiations.  The draft Withdrawal Agreement published in March will secure the rights of EU citizens and their family members living in the UK, and UK nationals living in the EU.  Some points – eg on expanding the scope of recognition of qualifications and on onward movement – remain to be negotiated as part of the future relationship discussions.

In her statement of 21 September after the Salzburg Informal Summit, the Prime Minister confirmed that even in the unlikely event of a ‘no deal’ scenario, all EU citizens living in the UK would be able to stay.  She said: “There are over 3 million EU citizens living in the UK who will be understandably worried about what the outcome of yesterday’s summit means for their future.  I want to be clear with you that even in the event of no deal your rights will be protected.  You are our friends, our neighbours our colleagues.  We want you to stay.

The UK is now urging our EU counterparts to offer the same reassurance to UK nationals living in their countries – that they can stay regardless of the outcome of negotiations – as the PM offered EU citizens residing in the UK.  Thus, in the video, I note the Prime Minister’s comments on the right of EU citizens resident in the UK, and add: “we would be very thankful if the other 27 EU Member States, including Austria, would say this as well for the one million British citizens who live in these 27 countries. There are for example more than 10,000 living in Austria, and they’re concerned about what would happen in the event of a no-deal if Austria and the other states haven’t said anything.”

If you are a UK national resident in Austria, you might be interested in the outreach events we are organising across the country.  At these events you will hear a presentation on the latest stage of the negotiations, and have an opportunity to ask questions.  You can find more information about them here.

About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.