British in Italy look to Italian authorities to secure future in the event of no deal

British in Italy are making contingency plans to avoid the worst should they become third party nationals on the night of March 29th, 2019.

British in Italy look to Italian authorities to secure future in the event of no deal
Jeremy Morgan, chair of British in Italy, addresses a meeting on citizenship rights in Venice on November 20th. Photo: British in Italy.

British in Italy, the country branch of the grassroots campaign group British in Europe, held an open meeting in Venice on November 20th with a view to finding solutions for various potential Brexit outcomes and to qualm the fears of some of it members.

The main issues discussed were what happens if there is a deal, what happens if there is no deal, and issues arising from the ‘decreto sicurezza’ concerning citizenship applications from Brits.

The newly-approved ‘decreto sicurezza’, a new package of immigration laws, foresees that all citizenship applications via naturalization or marriage now need to be processed by the Italian government in four years, as supposed to two. This would mean that applications by Brits may not be reviewed before the end of the transition period.

Another potential quagmire for Brits in Italy is whether people who have applied for citizenship by March 29th, 2019, in Italy will be treated as third-country nationals or EU citizens. EU nationals can apply for citizenship after four years of residency; the minimum residency period for third-country nationals to apply is ten years.

The meeting in Veneto, northern Italy, also reviewed British in Italy's lobbying regarding ring-fencing and amendments to the decreto, according to a British in Italy member who attended the event.

READ ALSO: Italian food and wine market in UK continues to grow despite Brexit

Despite the UK government announcing a new draft text agreement, which, if approved by the UK parliament, would see Brits in Europe retain their current EU rights until the end of the transition period in December 2020, British in Italy is still preparing for a no-deal outcome.

“We now have to work hard with the Italian administration to ensure that there are systems in place on 29 March to avoid the potential chaos when we lose our rights as EU citizens,” states a post on British in Italy’s Facebook page, following the November 20th meeting in Veneto.

Angelo Tosoni, vice president for the Veneto of the National Association of Local Councils, also attended the meeting and “promised to pursue the matter,” according to British in Italy’s summary of the event.

READ ALSO: What's at stake for Italy in the Brexit negotiations?

British in Italy is calling on the 26,000 registered Brits in Italy – some estimates say there are up to 65,000 Brits in Italy – to write to their local ‘sindaco’ – mayor – to make sure they are aware that Brits could become “clandestine” citizens on March 30th, 2019 (in the event of a no-deal and the Withdrawal Agreement, which covers citizenship rights, being scrapped) and to ensure municipal authorities are informed and prepared.

“The French and German governments have already started passing laws to give some certainty to Brits in this situation, but so far the Italian government has given no clear indication that it is preparing for what will happen on 30 March, whether it be under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement or a no-deal,” adds another recent post by British in Italy.

A source close to the matter told The Local that the Italian government could apparently make a statement on the matter in the coming days.

Are you a Brit in Italy worried about what you should do if Brexit talks collapse? Check out British in Italy’s checklist for a no-deal scenario.

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The British Embassy in Rome is hosting a discussion on citizenship rights in Rome on November 26th from 17.30 to 19.30 at the British School in Rome, Via Gramsci 61. Those wishing to attend should R.S.V.P. to [email protected].

See British in Italy’s website and social pages for more details. 

READ MORE: A Brexit checklist for Brits in Italy



Italian rivals pitch abroad in trilingual vote videos

Days after Italy's far-right leader made a multilingual appeal to foreign commentators to take her seriously, her main rival in September elections issued his own tit-for-tat video Saturday condemning her record.

Italian rivals pitch abroad in trilingual vote videos

Former prime minister Enrico Letta, leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, declared his pro-European credentials in a video in English, French and Spanish, while deriding the euroscepticism of Italy’s right-wing parties.

It echoes the trilingual video published this week by Giorgia Meloni, tipped to take power in the eurozone’s third largest economy next month, in which she sought to distance her Brothers of Italy party from its post-fascist roots.

“We will keep fighting to convince Italians to vote for us and not for them, to vote for an Italy that will be in the heart of Europe,” Letta said in English.

His party and Meloni’s are neck-and-neck in opinion polls ahead of September 25 elections, both with around 23 percent of support.

But Italy’s political system favours coalitions, and while Meloni is part of an alliance with ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and anti-immigration leader Matteo Salvini, Letta has struggled to unite a fractured centre-left.

Speaking in French perfected in six years as a dean at Sciences Po university in Paris, Letta emphasised European solidarity, from which Italy is currently benefiting to the tune of almost 200 billion euros ($205 billion) in
post-pandemic recovery funds.

“We need a strong Europe, we need a Europe of health, a Europe of solidarity. And we can only do that if there is no nationalism inside European countries,” he said.

He condemned the veto that he said right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor “Orban — friends and allies of the Italian right — is using every time he can (to) harm Europe”.

In Spanish, Letta highlighted Meloni’s ties with Spain’s far-right party Vox, at whose rally she spoke earlier this summer, railing at the top of her voice against “LGBT lobbies”, Islamist violence, EU bureaucracy and mass

In English, he condemned the economic legacy of Berlusconi, a three-time premier who left office in 2011 as Italy was on the brink of economic meltdown, but still leads his Forza Italia party.

Letta’s programme includes a focus on green issues — he intends to tour Italy in an electric-powered bus — and young people, but he has made beating Meloni a key plank of his campaign.

Meloni insisted in her video that fascism was in the past, a claim greeted with scepticism given her party still uses the logo of a flame used by the Italian Social Movement set up by supporters of fascist leader Benito Mussolini.

In a joint manifesto published this week, Meloni, Berlusconi and Salvini committed themselves to the EU but called for changes to its budgetary rules — and raised the prospect of renegotiating the pandemic recovery plan.

Elections were triggered by the collapse of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government last month, and are occurring against a backdrop of soaring inflation, a potential winter energy crisis and global uncertainty sparked by
the Ukraine war.