UK and Italy in talks on reciprocal healthcare in case of no-deal Brexit

Alex Macbeth
Alex Macbeth - [email protected]
UK and Italy in talks on reciprocal healthcare in case of no-deal Brexit

The UK government says it is in talks with its Italian counterpart to secure a deal that would protect their citizens' access to healthcare in the event of a no-deal Brexit. But concerns remain about what other rights Brits in Italy would retain during Italy's proposed 'no-deal' transition period.


The Italian government's 'no-deal Brexit' decree, published earlier this week, outlines various provisions to assist Brits living in the country should the UK exit the European Union without a deal – including the commitment that the 65,000 British nationals living in Italy will continue to access healthcare until the end of 2020, subject to Britain reciprocating for the 700,000 Italians living in the UK.

But while both the UK and Italian government have committed to ensuring key rights are guaranteed even without a withdrawal agreement, there is no bilateral deal in place to offer certainty. 

READ ALSO: What would no-deal Brexit mean for Brits in Italy? Here's what we know so far

Photo: Niklas Halle'n/AFP

UK diplomats in Italy told The Local that they're working on it.  

"We and the Italian government are discussing a bilateral and reciprocal deal on healthcare for Italian nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU in the event of a no-deal. Both sides have committed to cover healthcare," Solange Di Lieto, a spokeswoman for the British Embassy in Rome, told The Local this week.

"The decree confirms that the Italian government is committed to providing healthcare for S1 and S2 holders until 31 December 2020 for those who have previously paid into 2 systems before the UK leaves the EU," states the latest update to the UK government's Living in Italy guide

The British government has already pledged to carry on paying the healthcare costs of 180,000 UK pensioners in Europe for 12 months in the event of a no-deal exit, starting from the date of departure. 


Meanwhile citizens' rights groups are continuing to seek further clarification about what other rights Brits in Italy would retain during a no-deal transition period, including on what terms they can apply for permanent residence.

"Essentially, our biggest criticism of the decree is the lack of clarity on several points," Delia Dumaresq of the campaign group British in Italy told The Local. The group's committee has a meeting with Italian officials on Friday where they expect to receive more information.

Neither the Italian foreign office nor the British Embassy in Rome were able to confirm, at the time of writing, whether UK nationals would retain the right to work during the proposed transition period.

For now, the opening words from Dante's Inferno still ring true for UK nationals anxiously awaiting news of their futures: "Midway upon the journey of our life/I found myself within a forest dark, For the straightforward pathway had been lost."

READ ALSO: No, Italy is not about to help bring about a no-deal Brexit

Photo: Patrick Herzog/AFP


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