Austria will create an exception to its ban on dual citizenship for its nationals living in Britain facing the prospect of Brexit, its foreign minister said on Tuesday (Jan 8), leaving open whether it would do the same for Britons in Austria.
Austria’s foreign minister says her country would allow Austrians in Britain the possibility of keeping their existing nationality alongside British citizenship if the U.K. leaves the European Union without a deal.
Austria only allows dual citizenship in very limited cases, and the Austria Press Agency reported that Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said Tuesday Vienna will continue to restrict it in principle in the future. She said the government intends to exempt the roughly 25,000 Austrians living in Britain from the restriction, but didn’t give details.
Britain is due to leave the EU March 29. Prime Minister Theresa May faces an uphill battle to win parliamentary approval for a divorce agreement with the EU, with many lawmakers in London loathe, raising the possibility of a no-deal departure.
There are exceptions to that long-standing ban, and the conservative and far-right coalition government plans to create a new one for the roughly 25,000 Austrians who have made Britain their home, Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said.
Kneissl told a news conference she would bring up the issue at a cabinet meeting later this week.
Asked whether such an exception would also be created for Britons in Austria, Kneissl said:
“That is an interesting question” but there was no such plan. Around 11,000 British citizens live in Austria.
The question of what will happen in the event of Britain crashing out of the bloc without a withdrawal agreement governing everything from flying rights to the status of either side’s nationals has come into focus as Britain’s parliament appears unwilling to approve a deal negotiated with the EU.
Britain has announced a new online system which it says will be up and running by Mar 30, to let EU citizens apply for “settled status” to stay after Brexit.