On Monday 29 April, 1039 days after the vote to leave the EU, the3million and British in Europe representatives were invited to meet with Secretary of State, Stephen Barclay. This invitation was initiated by Alberto Costa MP who requested the meeting during PMQs before Easter and he was also present. Jane Golding and Jeremy Morgan represented BiE.
It was a productive meeting. The team used the opportunity to explain who our members are and the key issues facing working people, retirees, and young people and children. We also explained why the citizens’ rights deal negotiated under the Withdrawal Agreement, if imperfect, is by far superior to a no deal scenario involving 28 national unilateral solutions, which is why we support ringfencing it.
The discussion moved on to ringfencing and we asked the Secretary of State what had been done to respond to the letter that Michel Barnier sent on 25 March on that subject and whether he would commit to respond as soon as possible. The Secretary of State committed to write again to Michel Barnier and continue the communication.
We are in regular contact with DExEU and FCO officials about our rights. They had organised further meetings before and after the meeting with DfE, DWP and Home Office officials. At these, we discussed issues within the unilateral gift of the UK and dealt with in the UK government’s UK citizens’ rights paper published on 4 April
- home fees for British students resident in the EU 27,
- uprating of pensions and
- the rights of UK citizens to return to the UK bringing their family members with them.
We will be following up with all three departments. Specifically, we asked for clarification of what reciprocity means re pensions, and for the commitment for pension uprating for UK pensioners in the EU (which expires in less than a year) to be extended by another two years while they discuss long-term arrangements. We also requested a meeting with a Home Office minister to discuss our family reunification rights.