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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

22nd July 2019 Vienna, Austria

Brexit in Vienna: a busy July

These are busy times in London and Vienna.  A new Prime Minister will take office in London shortly.  The UK is due to leave the EU by 31 October at the latest.  In Austria, a new Austrian interim government was sworn in on 3 June, with elections due on 29 September.

The UK has been working closely with the Austrian government over the past three years on important Brexit-related issues including: the rights of UK citizens in Austria; future arrangements for business, education, healthcare, security and environmental issues; and other aspects of our future relationship.

Many elements of that relationship, including on citizens’ rights, will be different depending on whether we have a negotiated exit from the EU, or a so-called no-deal Brexit.  While the UK government believes that leaving with a deal remains the best way of securing a successful Brexit, the government also sees it as responsible and prudent to make preparations to minimise disruption in the event of a possible no deal.  That, too, has required detailed discussions with our Austrian partners.

I have therefore been delighted to take the opportunity recently to meet members of the Austrian government to discuss Brexit, including citizens’ rights, and the bilateral relationship more widely.  I have recently had the honour of meeting Federal Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein; Vice Chancellor and Minister for Constitutional Affairs, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice, Clemens Jabloner; Minister for Economy and Digitalisation, Elisabeth Udolf-Strobl; Minister for Education, Science and Research, Iris Rauskala; and the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection, Brigitte Zarfl.  In the next few days I hope also to meet the Minister of the Interior, Wolfgang Peschorn, and the Minister of Defence, Thomas Starlinger.

In all these meetings, I have expressed our gratitude for the good co-operation so far with the Austrian authorities on the practical aspects of preparing for Brexit; and have set out areas where we believe further work is necessary in the event of a no-deal Brexit, for example relating to protecting access to healthcare for UK citizens in Austria in the event of a no-deal.  I am grateful for our Austrian hosts for their understanding; and for the broad and deep work which has already taken place.  I and my team look forward to continuing this in the coming months and to continuing to represent British interests in Austria, not least the interests of British nationals living here.

2 comments on “Brexit in Vienna: a busy July

  1. What is happening for us ‘Austrophiles’ who love the country, have lived here very happily since taking early retirement 9 years ago but will be forced to leave suddenly on October 31st because we cannot afford approx 9,000 euro per annum health insurance.
    Please can you answer this, is there any hope for us?

    1. Thanks for your comment David. Access to healthcare in the event of a no-deal Brexit is a topic we continue to raise with the Government of Austria. Please do also speak to your current insurance provider, who may be able to provide more details.

Comments are closed.

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.