Richard North, 19/08/2015  

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On Monday, the Guardian published the results of a survey organised on its own website which recorded 1,200 EU residents living in the UK "in the process of changing nationality or citizenship, or considering doing so" fearing "a possible out vote in Britain's proposed 2017 EU membership referendum".

An honest newspaper, would have pointed out that the fears were absolutely groundless but no one can accuse the Guardian of having any acquaintance with decency and the truth when it comes to expressing its Europhilia.

Instead, it paraded some thoroughly misleading comments, amounting to a parade of ignorance about treaty law, from people who should know better.

Such was the transparent dishonesty that any other British newspaper might have made a story of the articles, pointing out how the Guardian was misleading the public. But then, as we know, the British media isn't in the information business.

Exposing the misinformation, therefore, fell to Sputnik, an international multimedia news service launched on 10 November 2014 by Rossiya Segodnya, an agency wholly owned and operated by the Russian government.

With a Moscow dateline, Daria Chernyshova thus tells us that EU residents who have settled in Britain would not need dual citizenship "despite a scare campaign by British media over the country's possible exit from the European Union" – this according to two experts she had consulted.

Robert Oulds, director at The Bruges Group told Sputnik that: "Those who have come to the United Kingdom from the EU and other European Economic Area member states would not be required to leave, just as British citizens who now reside, who live and work in other European citizens would not be required to leave".

He underlined that there would be "absolutely no change whatsoever" which means that those currently in the United Kingdom do not need to gain dual citizenship.

Then political researcher and analyst Richard North agreed, stressing that the United Kingdom will not close its borders. "It is inconceivable", he said, "that the UK would go back to closed borders — the main aim of the 'no' campaign is to detach the UK from political integration in Europe — not to isolate us from the economic and social life of the continent".

North stated that the United Kingdom would retain reciprocal movement arrangements with most EU and EEA countries, then criticising he Guardian's poll, saying it was "the usual scaremongering we have come to associate with this newspaper".

"The issue", North said, has been rehearsed by our own Parliaments in a parliamentary briefing and should, therefore, be known to any competent journalist or editorial team writing for UK newspapers on this subject".

Oulds reiterated that those who have moved from one EU country to another, will find their their right of residency protected. "This is a well-tested area of international law", he said.

"Any suggestion the British citizens living in another EU state which suddenly have to reassess their residency, would have to get permission to stay, would have to get a new passport are completely misleading reports that have no basis in facts whatsoever. There is a lot of misinformation regarding immigration in the UK, and out of the UK to other EU states, and this is just scaremongering and this is not true".

Both experts noted that as the rights of the EU nationals in the United Kingdom would not be challenged in the event of Brexit, the labour market and business would not see much change in The United Kingdom or in Europe.

"Overall then, there will be little change to the labour market. The main issue that the UK needs to address is the non-contributory benefits available to migrants — a situation which was never foreseen and which is unsustainable," North said.

He stressed that Brexit would have an overall neutral effect on business, and the aim is to continue trading arrangements unchanged.

Oulds agreed, noting that while the status quo will be preserved for those working in the United Kingdom, it will be different for those attempting to come to Britain after the country leaves the European Union.

"Of course, after Britain has left the European Union, if someone wants to leave Poland and come to the UK, it would be a different matter, and they would have to be some agreement put in place that would either restrict or allow entry for new citizens to come and live".

Then, one of these days, we might see a miracle, and have the British media report in such a coherent way, using people who quite evidently know what they are talking about. This North person obviously needs watching though – the British media quite obviously could not use him. And as for Mr Oulds …

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