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BREXIT

EU27 fail to agree length of Brexit extension for UK

The EU27 member states on Friday were unable to come to an agreement on the length of the Brexit extension Brussels would offer the UK, with the French reportedly the most reluctant to back a delay until January.

EU27 fail to agree length of Brexit extension for UK
Photo: AFP

The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier announced on Friday that EU nations had been unable to come to an agreement on the length of the next Brexit delay due to the fallout from Boris Johnson’s demand for a December election.

The British Prime Minister put the cat among the pigeons on Thursday by announcing he wanted a general election on December 12th to break the Brexit deadlock.

Barnier had held a meeting on Friday of EU ambassadors in Brussels and although he described the talks as “excellent” he said no decision was taken on the length of the Brexit extension they would offer the British government.

Barnier suggested a decision would now likely not be made until Monday or Tuesday next week with some EU member states, notably the French, wanting to wait and see whether Boris Johnson will get his wish for a December election.

While a majority of member states are believed to be willing to agree to the January 31st extension – as requested by Johnson through gritted teeth – the French government are not so keen.

One diplomatic source quoted in British newspaper The Guardian said: “It’s the French, it’s always the French”.

France has made clear up to now that a three month extension would only be palatable if it was for a general election or second referendum. The EU’s other heavyweight Germany has been more amenable to a January extension.

Speaking on French radio RTL on Friday morning, France’s EU minister Amélie de Montchalin told RTL: “We need to have a clear scenario of why we are giving time: is it to ratify an agreement because we have need a few more days? (…)

“Or is it to organise an election so that we can have a clarification democratically?”,  she told RTL.

“The French position is to give more time if it’s justified, if we understand why are doing it, ” she insisted.

“It’s not a question of an ultimatum, it’s a question of clarity. (…) Giving time alone does not lead to anything other than stagnation,” the French minister added.

READ MORE: 

ANALYSIS: So just what is going on with the French and the Brexit extension


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson with French president Emmanuel Macron. Photo: AFP

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BREXIT

IN FIGURES: How many Brits in Sweden have had their post-Brexit residence status rejected?

Following Brexit, many Brits in Sweden had to apply for post-Brexit residence status to stay in Sweden. How many Brits have applied, how many were rejected, and what happened to those who weren't granted residence status?

IN FIGURES: How many Brits in Sweden have had their post-Brexit residence status rejected?

Between November 2020 and December 2022, a total of 12,461 Brits applied for post-Brexit residence status to retain their rights to live in Sweden under EU law. Of these 12,461 applications, 11,495 had been concluded by the end of 2022, with 966 still waiting for a response.

How many applications were approved?

According to Migration Agency figures seen by The Local, a total of 9,340 applications for post-Brexit residence status were approved between December 2020 and December 2022, meaning that more than four in five, 81.25 percent, of applications for residence status processed in this time period were granted.

The number of applications approved per month corresponded almost exactly to the number of applications submitted per month, with the most approvals (3,178) occuring in December 2020. December 2020 also saw the highest number of submissions: 3,529. There was another small peak in December 2021, where 432 of a total of 775 applications were rejected.

These two peaks in application numbers are probably due to the fact that December 2020 was the month when applications opened and December 2021 the last month before they closed.

How many applications were rejected?

A total of 2,155 applications for post-Brexit residence status were rejected between November 2020 and December 2022.

This means that around 18.75 percent of applications for post-Brexit residence status were rejected in this time period.

Again, the highest number of rejections occured in December 2020, with another peak in December 2021, where 223 applications were rejected.

 

Why were applications rejected?

When The Local contacted the Migration Agency for more information on why applications were rejected, press officer Frederik Abbemo was unable to give us exact information on the number of cases rejected for each possible reason.

However, he was able to give us a rough idea of the most common reasons for rejection.

"The most common reasons applications were rejected were incomplete applications, late applications, applications where the applicant did not fulfil the requirement for residence status, and applications listed as 'reason unknown', where we cannot see in the statistics why the application has been categorised that way," he said.

What about people who appealed their applications?

According to Abbemo, around 450 of the 2,155 rejected applications were appealed to the Migration Court (Migrationsdomstolen). Of these 450 appeals, "around 20" were overturned, with the applicants being granted residence status.

It is not clear how many of those who appealed, if any, are yet to receive a verdict.

What has happened to the Brits who had their applications rejected?

It's difficult to know exactly what has happened in each individual case, but we can draw some conclusions based on other data.

For example, new figures from Eurostat earlier this month showed that Sweden has ordered 1,050 Brits to leave the country following Brexit - more than any other EU country. This number includes Brits refused entry at the Swedish border, Brits found to be illegally present in Sweden, and Brits ordered to leave for other reasons.

The Eurostat figures cover a slightly different time period than the figures from the Migration Agency above, stretching from January 2021 to September 2022.

If we focus on Migration Agency figures for the same period, January 2021 to September 2022, a total of 1,857 people had their applications for residence status rejected in this time period. This suggests that at least 800 Brits who did not receive residence status were able to stay in Sweden in other ways.

One way of staying in Sweden legally despite not being granted residence status could be by holding a valid residence permit (uppehållstillstånd) under different rules (such as due to being in a relationship with a Swede or applying for a work permit), or by holding Swedish citizenship, which also gives you the right to live in Sweden.

Could the EU figures include people who never applied in the first place?

Yes. The Eurostat figures also include Brits living in Sweden illegally who never applied for post-Brexit residence status, who receive an order to leave when detected by the Swedish authorities.

Many are indeed unaware of the fact that they should have applied and that their stay in Sweden is illegal, and have simply not realised that their permanent right of residence under EU law (permanent uppehållsrätt) ceased to be valid when the UK left the EU.

A number of people in this category are detected when they leave the country and re-enter (like what happened to Brit Stuart Philpott in this article), and others only discover they are living here illegally when they receive an order to leave from the Migration Agency.

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