For now, absolutely no arrangements affecting those who live or own property in EU countries will change. The UK remains a member of the EU for at least two years after Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has been invoked – and this will not happen until we have a new Prime Minister in place (at the earliest).
A number of political leaders and embassies have already issued reassurance of this in the aftermath of last month’s result. Many of these countries hope to continue their relationship along the same lines as those that currently exist. For example, Portugal’s Prime Minister, António Costa, has confirmed that the Portuguese government will “do everything to ensure all the rights of the Portuguese community in the UK are guaranteed, along with all the rights of the British citizens who live, visit or invest in Portugal”. These sentiments have been echoed by a number of other leaders around the EU.
The general consensus is that, even after the negotiations have taken place – in whatever form they take – those who already own property in an EU member state will not find that too much has changed – although it will be important to keep an eye on things like inheritance and tax laws as there is a potential for amendment here.
The EU member states such as Spain, Portugal and France, rely on the income and tourism that expats bring with them
The EU member states that are home to a number of UK expats, such as Spain, Portugal and France, rely on the income and tourism that these expats bring with them, and are unlikely to want to make this more difficult. They would also be concerned about the number of their own citizens that currently live in the UK. What’s more, it is generally believed that British expats already living in the EU have individual ‘acquired rights’ under the international law of the Vienna Convention of 1969. This says that the termination of any treaty “does not affect any right, obligation or legal situation of the parties created through the execution of the treaty prior to its termination”.