The UK is set to hold a referendum on June 23 2016 on whether Britain should remain in the European Union. This will give voters the right to choose to vote to remain in the EU or to leave, it’s being called Brexit – British exit. Nobody can say for sure what impact this will have for Britain or for the other members of the EU. We asked Trevor Legget, Chairman of Leggett Immobilier French estate agents what the implications of a Brexit would be for those considering purchasing a French property.
“We have not noticed any slowdown in demand from UK purchasers. Our pipeline of offers accepted & Compromis de Vente’s signed is exactly 40% higher than this time last year (which was in itself a record year).
The Financial Times “poll of polls” shows 46% of voters want to stay, 38% want to leave and 16% are undecided.
Our personal view is that even if the vote was to leave the EU there would be little in the way of substantial change to UK citizens living in France.
So far, there has been little discussion about the approx 2m UK citizens currently living in other EU member states.
The Daily Telegraph recently reported that the 2m Britons abroad have “acquired rights” and the NHS would be responsible for paying the cost of pensioners abroad.
We’re convinced that the Government will take every step possible to protect benefits in any withdrawal discussions, it’s a financial & political minefield…..imagine all these (generally elderly) citizens coming back to the UK and the burden this would place on the NHS.
All independent polls are showing that the most likely outcome is a vote to stay in. However, to be prudent, we have outlined below the three scenarios in the unlikely event of an “exit” vote:
1. UK retains membership in the EEA (European Economic Area) – this means that existing rules on freedom of movement would still apply.
2. A compromise solution – falls short of the existing rules but with special arrangement for certain citizens (we think this is the likely outcome)
3. No agreement between UK & EU. Even given this scenario the EU tends not to impose visa requirements on wealthy countries.
In short, the view held by Leggett Immobilier is that whatever the outcome we see little in the way of substantial change to UK citizens living over here.”