'I'll have to choose between my parents or my husband'

'I'll have to choose between my  parents or my husband'
Copyright Nicola James
By Cristina Abellan Matamoros
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For our Brits in Europe series, Euronews interviewed Nicola James who lives in The Netherlands with her husband who has MS and who has elderly parents in the UK. She's worried that without freedom of movement, she'll have to decide between her parents and her husband.


British government plans to end freedom of movement in case of a no-deal Brexit have alarmed many outside the UK.

UK nationals living in EU countries will most likely have to get residency permits, arrange for healthcare and driving permits for the countries they live in.

Euronews set out to find out how UK nationals living in EU countries felt about the announcement and how it would impact their daily lives.

Read more: UK citizens living in the EU 'very worried' about end of free movement in case of no-deal Brexit


Nicola James, known as Nicky, lives in The Netherlands with her husband who has multiple sclerosis (MS) but she goes back to the UK quite often to visit her elderly parents. She's worried that if freedom of movement is scrapped then she will have to choose between caring for her sick husband or her parents.

Ending freedom of movement in case of a no-deal Brexit would give her no time to think about going back to the UK, Nicky told Euronews, and it will not allow her and her husband to move to any other EU country.

"Because of (my husband's) condition it’s thought that a warmer climate might be healthier, so we had discussed moving to Portugal or Spain at some point for his health and we wouldn’t be able to do that because I wouldn’t be able to move with him," she said.

"The UK government is betraying us by doing this as much as they are betraying their promises to EU 27 citizens," she said.

Nicky, however, remains fairly confident that The Netherlands will be able to work things out in an organised way and "be fair to UK citizens living there". She said that all British nationals living in The Netherlands had received a letter they could use as proof they were there before Brexit.

Still, no one has received any information on what will happen in case of a no-deal Brexit and this worries a lot of people.

"At this point, we don’t know about things like social security, work rights, we don’t know anything about those things," she said.

However, a part of Nicky can't help but feel the Dutch government will retaliate if the British government takes a harsh stance towards Dutch nationals living in the UK.

"We don’t know. We’re political capital now, we are bargaining chips and we have been for a long time and I don’t see that changing at all. Nobody is listening," she said.

Nicky also expressed frustration at feeling like she would lose all her rights so quickly.

"On a personal level, I hate this feeling that this is the country (The Netherlands) I will be in for the rest of my life and I can’t live anywhere else [...] I personally hate that feeling that all doors are closed now and that’s it," she said.

Read more: 'Without freedom of movement we'll lose half our income'

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