At the end of April 2020 British in Europe was once more asked by the UK Parliamentary Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union to provide evidence. We have already given oral evidence twice to this committee, which is chaired by Hilary Benn, as well as written evidence.
This time, our views on 9 specific questions was requested.
- Could you set out the means by which UK citizens can secure their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement in each EU Member State, how easy are these systems to use and how do they compare with the EU Settlement Scheme in the UK?
- What has been the experience of UK citizens in the EU Member States securing their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement so far?
- Has the treatment of UK citizens been consistent across the EU Member States or have there been differences between Member States?
- Have public bodies, businesses and landlords in the EU Member States continued to treat UK citizens in the same manner as during EU membership?
- What has been the impact of COVID-19, if any, on securing the rights of UK citizens in EU Member States?
- Are there any administrative, legal, technical, financial or practical issues outstanding and what action might be taken to resolve them and by whom?
- Do you have any estimates for how many UK citizens have undergone the necessary formalities to secure their rights in each Member State and how many have yet to do so?
- Is there a role for civil society representatives of UK citizens in the EU to contribute towards monitoring of the Withdrawal Agreement? If not, how might this be addressed?
- Do you have any other concerns for UK citizens in the EU regarding the remainder of the transition period, including the roll-out of the proposed EU-wide biometric document?
For a volunteer-led organisation that receives no funding from the UK or the EU, this was a mammoth task taking hundreds of hours of work. But the fact that these questions are asked by MPs underlines why organisations like ours are needed to monitor & safeguard the rights of 1.2m citizens resident in the EU.
Using our network of groups across the 26 Member States and the substantial legal expertise within our steering team, we were able to collate and present this information in under 3 weeks.
So why, you might ask, are we not receiving any of the £3 million fund put aside for UKinEU?
This fund is for organisations “who will inform UK nationals about the need to register or apply for residency and support them as they complete their applications“. It is not for monitoring or for EU/UK level advocacy. Read our response here.
Our crowd funding site is still open to raise the funds we need to continue to function. Please consider contributing today so we can continue to monitor the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement on behalf to UK citizens in the EU.