A Look at the Effects of ‘brexit’ in France

A Look at the Effects of ‘brexit’ in France

UK citizens have voted in a national referendum on June 23 to officially leave the European Union. The process, generally known as “Brexit”, now engages a long and intricate negotiation between the UK government and the remaining 27 member nations of the EU, plus the European Commission and the European Parliament. The process is likely to take at least two years. During the transition, the UK remains a full member of the EU.

We know you have many questions and there will be many more coming up as the news settles, so following the announcement of the Brexit vote we look at the main meaning and potential consequences of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, and the effects on British nationals who live or own property in France.

What happens now that the UK voted to leave the EU?

The terms of the exit will be negotiated. There are five models to choose from, the Economist explains.

1. To join the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein)
2. Not join the EEA but sign a number of major and minor bilateral agreements with the EU (Switzerland)
3. Seek to establish a customs union with the EU (Turkey) or at least a comprehensive free-trade agreement
4. Rely on normal World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules for access to the EU market
5. Negotiate a special deal for Britain alone. The European Union has not granted the United Kingdom any special dispensations from its rules in the deal struck in Brussels on February 19, RFI reports.

The pound

One element that has been widely speculated about is the potential slump on the British pound. As currency experts Moneycorp write, there is likely to be increasing market volatility for a while after the results are first announced, as the market adjusts to the new positions. Such was the case with the Scottish referendum, when the pound dropped to £1=€1.24 before the vote, before surging to a 2-year high versus the euro, as Scotland voted no. It is reasonable to expect significant market and currency movements immediately after such a result, until markets are confident they understand what lies ahead for the UK economy.

Property ownership

Brexit is not likely to affect the right of a UK national to own property in France, as any other nationality can already enjoy this same right today, including citizens from non EU-countries such as the many Canadian, Australian, American or Chinese owners of French property.

The main question mark is how property inheritance and taxation rules would apply. French real-estate is subject to French forced-heirship provisions, which in practice means that the French legal system will decide who receives the property following the death of the owner. At the moment, according to EU rules, any British national who has property in France can choose either the law of the country of their habitual residence, or the law of their nationality (or choose one of their nationalities if multiple) to govern the devolution of their French estate.

Cross-border solicitor Charlotte MacDonald explains that it will make absolutely no difference in terms of the devolution of your assets whether the UK is in the EU or not, since the UK opted out of the regulation and is therefore already treated as a state outside the EU for succession purposes.

UK residents in France

The rights of British citizens to reside in France would depend on what form of exit is implemented. If the UK opts for option one, to be an EEA member as Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein are, UK nationals would still be entitled to live and work in the EU, though there would be certain restrictions to some rights and social benefits.

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Sylvia is a freelance journalist based in France, focusing on business and culture. A valued member of the France Media editorial team, Sylvia is a regular contributor to our publication.

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  • Ian Auvergne
    2016-07-03 09:34:42
    Ian Auvergne
    Some of us who love Britain AND France are not taking this lying down. It seems that there is now a majority who want to remain, and that 13% regret their decision to vote 'out'. Those of us who live in France, even only part of the year, like me, will come to regret the Brexit decision, for example when we need to access the local hospital, as I did last year. I would have thought that there can't be many of us on this website who dislike France enough to stick two fingers up to the EU. So we are fighting on. A second referendum, probably via a General Election, can secure our continued membership. By the way, I've never felt it so difficult to look my fellow villagers in the face as I did last Friday morning. Ian. St Nicolas des Biefs, Allier.


  • mayallj
    2016-04-19 21:38:29
    As a resident of England contemplating buying a property in France or retiring in next year or two to France, I have to say that I will wait until the result of the referendum is announced. BUT as of today, 19th April, it seems the "remain" campaign has a clear lead - phew!


    • Microlin
      2016-06-25 23:20:11
      I was also hoping to relocate in the south of France but with brexit Unless we stay in the single market it looks like it could be more hassle than its worth


  • Sadgrovem
    2016-04-19 18:57:29
    It is *not* a Brexit referendum. To call it that immediately sets up a negative dynamic that may fuel passions but doesn't serve the truth. (In any case, it isn't Britain's exit that is the awful possibility but the whole UK's.) We are asked to vote on an open question: remain or leave? The arguments should be stated and weighed up, starting with the positives. I believe there are a thousand good reasons why the UK will be "stronger in" the EU, and we "remainers" need to present them with more passion than hitherto. What's more, it's not just about whether we are better or worse off either way, but how our whole community of EU nations can flourish. It's as much a case of what we have to give to our neighbours as what they can give us.


    • Bodhis
      2016-06-20 15:51:13
      I have yet to hear a compelling argument to remain. I encourage positive and reasoned debate in this matter as I believe it to be the single most important decision for our nation / country. I would be happy to receive your 1000 good reasons why the UK will be "stronger in". I started by stating my understanding of the underlying issue for those who want to leave, that "democracy is worth defending at any cost" because without democracy we are effectively living in a totalitarian state. This runs contrary to British values as has been demonstrated by a constitution that has formed the basis of every subsequent modern democracy.


  • jcandktc@yahoo.com
    2016-03-02 21:51:44
    RE: Moderation , does this mean you have to be politically correct, or does it mean your not free to speak freely.


  • violet
    2016-02-26 16:54:29
    Not one MP in the UK parliament has been able or willing to tell all ex pat UK Nationals living in Europe exactly what will happen in terms of medical cover, pensions, etc etc .....without the Assessment for which everyone is waiting, how are we supposed to make an informed decision ? It seemed to be the view on Question Time this Thursday that people in the UK are going to vote OUT because of immigration, giving no consideration to economic or any other criteria, and others will vote IN because they may lose their cheap flights to Spain ...although this is somewhat tongue in cheek I would hope, sadly it is a reflection of a great many people - who will probably not even bother to vote !


    • Bodhis
      2016-06-20 15:41:01
      There has been far to much focus on the negative aspects of a vote to leave the UK. I have been involved in online discussion in various forums and asked for the views of many different people. It is not in the interest of any European nation / state to deliberately cause problems. The main argument supporting the vote to leave is currently the supremacy of EU law over domestic national law and the erosion of national sovereignty (democracy) Nobody has made a successful argument for the EU being democratic and informed majority opinion is that Our right to elect our government and hold them accountable for decisions they make by proxy on behalf of the people is worth preserving at any price. The UK constitution is like no other in the world and affords certain protections for the individual No person is above the law (including the sovereign) No taxation without representation. In essence our right to hold politicians accountable and withhold taxes or remove them from power peacefully if they are not acting in the interest of the people. Successive governments have handed over more control over our national sovereignty with each Treaty signed. Starting with the Treaty of Rome in 1973. Edward Heath hid the "political union" element of the deal from the British people but it is clear that he knew what he was doing at the time. The European Communities Act (1972) was the instrument whereby the UK was able to join the European Union. Without it signing the Treaty of Rome would have been an act of Sedition and Treason. John Major who was responsible for the final betrayal... the Mastrict Treaty - key to the creation of the Single Market and the common currency the Euro. It's official title was "The Treaty on European Union". All the treaties before this had been about trade and related issues. European government was created by Mastrict it effected who governed and how. MEPs have also stated that the EU is not trying to hide it's intentions and plans going forward The leaders are saying they want a bigger, better, stronger EU and their plan for doing this? They want : More integration (financial and political) Common Taxes Common Foreign Policy Common Army Common Police force Just do an image search for French or German police, they look more like paramilitary forces than a Police force British people would recognise. Our police force and soldiers serve Her Majesty the Queen and through her as our head of State the British people. Who would be served by a Common Police force and Common Army? Who would hold them to account? Not the UK our voice represents less that 9% of the vote. On the 72 occasions Britain has opposed EU laws and regulations they have been defeated 72 times. In the European Court of Justice we have lost 101 times and won only 30 times a failure rate of 77% Since David Cameron became prime minister we have lost 80% Don't be taken in by the non-deal Cameron came back from Brussels with - Cameron's deal to secure a "Red Card" for Britain in the UK, the right to oppose if 14 other member states could be persuaded (quickly enough) to support the UK's position. But in order to get this he had to give up one of Britain's few remaining vetos, Britain's right to give or withhold consent to future treaties which convert the Eurozone block into a European Superstate. Leaving us no option but to adopt all future laws and regulations however detrimental to Britian's interests. The UK would be very vulnerable if we stay in the EU on those terms. There would effectively be no turning back Ever. Most leave supporters consider this the final nail in the coffin for democracy. The real driving force behind the EU has been the cowardice and opportunism of national governments - not the sinister ambitions of Brussels or Berlin. National political leaders who felt more and more detached from their own population built this post sovereign institution they could effectively hide in. The great benefit of the EU for these isolated governments is that it allowed them to pursue politics in and entirely insulated fashion. It allowed them to outsource political authority to an external entity without being held accountable or having to worry about annoying things like the people. I apologize for the long post but feel this sums up the core component of the leave position here in the UK.


      • Jason went
        2016-07-12 16:17:38
        Jason went
        I suppose it depends on your point of view.I personally don't share your optimism of the benign nature of the UK state.so benign it chose to criminalise gay people like me until 1967 and opposed an equal age of consent and military ban until forced to by the pesky European court.your figures and statistics concerning british verses EU law completely ignores the numerous opt outs the UK has received.your terms using treason imply the EU is by its very nature an immoral organisation.I will always oppose such views and if not given a further say on the deal to be reached like you and your ilk sabotaging each and every attempt at educating people about the benefits of membership I will be shrill in my opposition to a did deal.I am one of those inconvenient people who lives in one EU country and works in another and no I'm not rich I am a staff nurse in the nhs...the world has come a long way since 1973 and try as you might it will never ever thank god be 1973 or 1983 again! You are incorrect in your assertion regarding no taxation without representation as in three years time I lose my UK vote but will continue to have tax deducted from my income!further there is NO written UK constitution....it is not enshrined in any law unless you are referring to prehistoric anomalies such as magna carts which protects the rights of the moneyed class against the monarch but not repeat NOT those of working people like myself.


      • hector dog
        2016-07-09 10:44:33
        hector dog
        The EU referendum has delivered a result that is both divisive and undemocratic. The rhetoric from OUT campaigners was on the main racist and this has now been reflected in the spike in reported racist incidents towards EU workers and anyone else that "looks " foreign. It is not a pleasant experience knowing that the UK is now regarded as a hot bed of hatred towards European citizens. One of the main arguments that was portrayed in the English media was this notion of "losing national identity " , well certainly a new one has now been created. I am also astonished at the self righteousness of many in the Leave campaign who have promoted the idea that the UK Westminster model is democratic and Brussels is undemocratic. Brussels is apparently full of narrow minded politicians who are all out to line their pockets and act in their own national interests. Westminster is NOT a hot bed of progressive thinking. In the last few years , televised debates have shown, particularly at PM question time, an arrogance and nastiness from certain political leaders that is truly cringeworthy. There has been no let up in the offensive and snide comments emitting from the mouths of an Oxbridge elite towards anyone who dares to have a "common " accent. The UK electorate has withered away under this assault on the democratic process , with fewer and fewer eligible citizens even bothering to register , far less vote at elections. The expenses scandal did not help endear the politicians to their electorate. However, the establishment decide to have a little distraction and blame the Brussels "crew " for the ills in society. that should have been a good way of letting the fraudulent practices of the Oxbridge set off the hook. Fortunately for SCOTLAND , we are probably going to get the chance to remain in the EU as the majority of the Scottish electorate ( turnout figures to die for in England ) voted by a large majority to remain . We are waiting with enthusiasm and hope that this will also help our economy as large multi national companies see a good opportunity to relocate north to the land of hope and whisky. In the meanwhile , I am delighted that our politicians are voicing their support to EU nationals in Scotland and welcoming more to come to enrich our country .


      • Microlin
        2016-06-25 23:08:09
        This is all very true . We are in a situation that we are losing any control . It's not about migrants . It's about laws and who it's giving them Brussels or the government the people vote for . This is our one in a life time chance whatever the mess to get people power back not dictatorship . England has no problem with the EU and people movement . It's Brussels and how that manages it . No body got any say when 10 contries joined the EU block Just a load of rich people make it all up with nothing for the common man or women . In the UK the bussels has made this mess not EU people


    • jcandktc@yahoo.com
      2016-03-02 21:48:56
      What a shame its all about self self self, not about saving our country and our history.