Today, citizens groups the3million and British in Europe are meeting with Guy Verhofstadt and the European Parliament to remind them of their previous commitments to protect the lives of five million citizens. During a live Facebook stream at 10.30am (CET) they will discuss the unresolved issues including the right to form families, continue to work using their qualifications and to register without the threat of deportation.
Both EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in Europe citizens have been in limbo since the Brexit referendum, and despite the optimistic narrative of the British Government and the EU at the end of Phase 1 of the negotiations, their lives are still in the balance. Key issues include:
- Guarantee genuine free movement to both UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK, including lifelong right to return and the recognition of qualifications.
- The new status of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU must be based on a simple registration system. Local evidence of residence and ID should suffice to register, without systematic criminality and security checks that are not in the spirit of EU law..
- Ensure no one is left behind: extend the coverage to include groups of citizens who are presently not included in the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement; and protect those citizens who risk facing legal, digital, language, or evidential barriers to being registered under the Agreement.
- Extend the right to family reunification to include future partners.
- Extend CJEU oversight beyond the proposed eight years and clarify the role of the proposedindependent national authority in the UK in order to ensure the Withdrawal Agreement is implemented correctly and that rights cannot be reduced by future governments.
- Ring-fence citizens’ rights — above and beyond the ‘common understanding’ reached at the end of Phase 1 —to ensure all existing rights are protected in any event
Anne-Laure Donskoy, the3million, will address the EU Parliament on Thursday afternoon. Her speech concludes: “the ‘common understanding’ reached in Phase 1 will not sufficiently protect us. Let us remind ourselves of the first base principle by which negotiations on citizens’ rights must be conducted: this is first and foremost about people’s lives, before trade deals and processes. We have relied on our rights under EU law and we expect the full bundle of these rights to be protected. This is so that we can continue to live our lives as we always have, as promised by both the UK and the EU on numerous occasions since the referendum.’
Jane Golding from British in Europe will say: “The negotiations are not just about legal and political details but have direct repercussions on the lives of real people. We are citizens who seized all the opportunities that the rights derived from EU citizenship and the fundamental freedoms have given us. And yet so far, free movement for British citizens has not been discussed. This leaves many who rely on it for their livelihoods uncertain about how they will be able to make a living after Brexit “