According to a draft bill published by the French Senate, unless emergency measures are implemented, Britain would become a ‘third country’ in the event of a ‘hard Brexit’ and British nationals would therefore need to apply for a visa before stepping foot in the country.
It also states that those who wish to spend more than three consecutive months in France would need to apply for a long-stay visa.
However, the document stresses that any measures finally adopted will depend on the outcome of the current negotiations which are not currently possible to anticipate.
The French government, it adds, is ‘very attentive’ to the situation, and the rights of French nationals living in Britain, and would take into account the status granted by Britain to French nationals.
The draft bill said: ‘In the event of withdrawal from the United Kingdom without agreement, British nationals who enjoy the right of free movement and free establishment throughout the European Union will become nationals of third countries and will therefore in principle be subject to common law – that is to say to the requirement to present a visa to enter the French territory and to justify a residence permit to stay there.
‘Under national law, the code on the entry and residence of foreigners, and the right of asylum, provides for the obligation – subject to France’s international commitments – for any foreigner wishing to enter France with a view to to stay for more than three months to apply to the French diplomatic and consular authorities for a long-stay visa.
‘Moreover, in case of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union without agreement, British nationals currently residing in France would be staying illegally for lack of one of the residence documents.’
This week, Germany has also begun drawing up contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit but the country’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said that there was still time for an agreement to be reached.
And on Thursday this week, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, announced that the Brexit deadline of 29 March could be extended by a ‘matter of months’ to ensure that there was no visible border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
In a statement, a spokesman for the External Relations Department, said that they were aware of the measures proposed by the French government.
‘We highly value the enduring and mutually-beneficial relationship with our closest neighbour in Europe, and have committed to ensuring that this relationship continues post-Brexit,’ he said.
‘We are in regular dialogue with both the UK government and our regional neighbours to ensure that we minimise any negative impact on Islanders, and will be considering these measures within our overall contingency planning.’