The ‘no-deal’ scenario appears to be becoming more likely so we wrote to Dominic Raab in conjunction with the3million regarding the position of UKinEU and EUinUK. He was then demoted in the negotiation team so we hope he passes it on to Theresa May…
Dear Secretary of State,
We write as the largest groups of EU27 citizens in the UK (the3million) and of UK citizens in the EU27 countries (British in Europe).
We were naturally very pleased to hear your remarks on the Andrew Marr show to the effect that, now that No Deal is a serious possibility, both sides ought to be trying to reassure citizens on the continent and in the UK, and that in the event of No Deal the Government would act swiftly to secure the legal position of EU nationals in the UK.
We fully support your call for that reassurance. From the outset of the negotiations we have been pressing the parties to agree that any agreement on Citizens’ Rights be “ring-fenced” – ie not be dependent on agreement being reached on other matters. The case for this to be done now is overwhelming, and nothing short of this course can reassure the British and EU27 citizens most directly affected by the forthcoming withdrawal. The very citizens, of course, who have been promised by both sides at the outset that they were the first priority in the negotations, but whose anxiety is now at its highest level ever.
However, it will not be at all reassuring if the affected citizens have to wait until March 29th for governments in the UK or the EU27 to begin to “secure their legal position”. As you know the subject of Citizens’ Rights is not merely a matter of immigration status, but involves far more complex issues of fundamental importance to us all. The existing draft Agreement on Citizens’ Rights was the subject of months of negotiations, and included a number of topics which depend on agreement being reached between the two sides – such matters as health care, aggregation of pension contributions and recognition of qualifications, to name but a few.
We therefore call upon the Government to heed your call for reassurance in the only way in which it can, and to propose to its EU counterparts an urgent agreement on ring-fencing Citizens Rights.
We appreciate that in the past both sides have been reluctant tactically to agree to ring-fencing, but tactical considerations must now give way to the overwhelming need to provide reassurance. There can no longer be any argument that it is tactically unwise to contemplate No Deal for fear of suggesting that one is not negotiating seriously, as both sides are now publicly contemplating exactly that scenario. Nor is there any justification for either side to hold agreement on Citizens’ Rights as an ace up its sleeve in case it can be traded for some other benefit – each side has rightly claimed the moral high ground, namely that what matters is reaching an agreement that protects the rights of over the 4.5 million people unwittingly caught up in Brexit.
Download the pdf here.