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BREXIT

EU agrees to three-month Brexit ‘flextension’

The EU has agreed a three-month Brexit 'flextension' until January 31st 2020, which gives the UK the option of leaving before then if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified.

EU agrees to three-month Brexit 'flextension'
European Council president Donald Tusk with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

The President of the European Council Donald Tusk announced the agreement on Twitter on Monday morning.

He called the extension a “flextension” – a flexible extension – meaning that if MPs in London approve the Brexit deal, then the UK could leave the EU sooner than January 31st.

If the UK parliament does ratify Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement then it is believed the UK would leave the EU on the first day of the following month, so December 1st or January 1st.

The announcement of the extension had been expected on Friday but was delayed after the French objected to a longer extension unless there was a guarantee of a general election.

But on Monday morning, in a sign the French had agreed to drop their demand for a shorter extension, a diplomatic source hinted that a three-month delay was “very probable”.

The indication by a French source said that a potential three-month extension is hugely significant given that Paris was always seen as the major EU player most wary of another delay.

French president Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly expressed impatience over the repeated postponements of Brexit, saying they are getting in the way of his vision of reforming the European Union. 

“The conditions of the extension have been specified and reinforced, notably on the fact that the deal (reached between Britain and the EU) is not renegotiable,” added the French source.

“France insisted on the necessary conditions to preserve the unity of the 27 (remaining members of the EU).”

British lawmakers are due to vote Monday afternoon on Johnson's call for an early election to be held on December 12th.

The French source said that the chance of elections in Britain – which could result in a reconfigured parliament and help Johnson push through the deal – had “clearly strengthened over the weekend.”

The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats, who oppose Brexit, said over the weekend they could back the snap elections under certain conditions.

Member comments

  1. So, they don’t really want the people to have their vote. They voted to leave and that should be honored. If not, the people don’t have a vote. No one is “owed” a deal. Leave now.

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AUSTRIAN CITIZENSHIP

Why has naturalisation doubled in 2022 – and who are Austria’s new citizens?

Almost 5,000 people became Austrian citizens in the first three months of 2022, more than twice the year before.

Why has naturalisation doubled in 2022 - and who are Austria’s new citizens?

The first three months of 2022 saw 4,865 people being awarded Austrian citizenship through naturalisation processes.

That’s more than twice as many naturalisations as in the same quarter of the previous year (2,402 naturalisations), according to data released this Thursday, 19th, by Statistik Austria.

While Covid may have made an impact, when compared to the last year before the coronavirus pandemic, the number of naturalisations surged by 76 per cent.

The Austrian organisation says that the increase is primarily due to the entry into effect of the 2020 amendment to the Austrian Citizenship Act, allowing descendants of victims of the National Socialist (Nazi) regime to apply for dual citizenship.

READ ALSO: How descendants of victims of Nazism can apply for Austrian citizenship

“Under this legal title, descendants of victims of the Nazi regime have had the possibility of naturalisation since September 2020 without giving up their previous citizenship in return.”, Statistik Austria explained.

In the first quarter of the year, 1,927 people received Austrian citizenship according to the new amendment, corresponding to 39.6 per cent of all naturalisations in the quarter.

Almost all people naturalising through the new rules live outside of Austria (1,911).

Most are citizens of Israel (16.1 per cent), followed by the United Kingdom (8.5 per cent) and the United States (8.4 per cent).

Who are the new Austrian nationals?

According to Statistik Austria, the most recent Austrian citizens were previously from Turkey (7 per cent), Syria (6.2 per cent), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (4.9 per cent).

READ ALSO: Reader question: Will my children get an Austrian passport if born in Austria?

About half the naturalisations were women (49.7 per cent), and the proportion of people under 18 years old was 31.7 per cent.

About one-fifth of the newly naturalised had been born in Austria (21.2 per cent).

Eight states saw an increase in the number of naturalisations compared to the year before, with the most noticeable increase in Vorarlberg (up by 96.1 per cent), followed by Vienna (64.5 per cent) and Tyrol (54.3 per cent). Only in Salzburg, where there were 120 naturalisations, there was a decrease (by 4 per cent) in numbers.

Austrian naturalisation rules

Austria is considered a relatively difficult country to get naturalised. Not only do people need to prove language and integration, but it can get expensive, with applicants who are awarded the citizenship having to pay sometimes more than € 2,000.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get Austrian citizenship or stay permanently in Austria

Another thing that keeps people from applying is the obligation that naturalised citizens – with very few exceptions – give up their previous citizenship.

This is because Austria does not allow double citizenship for naturalised citizens unless they are descendants of the victims of the Holocaust or are granted an exemption.

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