Click here to see the British in Europe coalition’s response to the Prime Minister’s speech in Florence 22,09.17
Click here to see British in Europe’s letter to the Prime Minister
July 2017 European Parliament Briefings Paper ‘EU and UK position on citizens’ rights’ CLICK HERE
We, British in Europe, wish David Davis well in the Brexit negotiations with the European Union which start today. We would like to remind him that he and the UK government are also there to represent the 1.2 million UK citizens most directly impacted by Brexit – those who live in the EU and have been in limbo for a year, waiting for talks to start. We expect him to stick to Theresa May’s repeated pledge to make the sorting out of our post-Brexit rights – on the basis of reciprocity – her highest priority.
While the government has been busy in parliament with the Brexit bill and holding elections, British in Europe, the largest coalition of UK citizens in Europe, has been talking directly to the EU negotiators – who have consulted us on their negotiating directives, which they have changed to take on board many of our concerns.
Jane Golding, the Berlin-based Chair of British in Europe, said: “The result is that the EU offer now gives us almost everything we need and abides by a core principle which both sides should respect – that the rights of citizens in place before Brexit (including the 3 million EU citizens in the UK) should remain unchanged. We applaud that, as well as the EU’s transparency in this matter. For the past year Theresa May has repeatedly refused to make a unilateral offer to the 3 million EU citizens in the UK in order, she has said, to protect the rights of the 1.2 million UK citizens in Europe – but we have no detailed information on what that might mean. The EU offer gives plenty of detail and goes almost all the way to guaranteeing all our rights, but everything depends on how the UK decides to respond. We expect the UK, which has said it will be guided by the principle of reciprocity, to respond with similar magnanimity.”
Fiona Godfrey, Luxembourg-based spokesperson for British in Europe, added: “We and the 3 million EU citizens in the UK must not be used as bargaining chips or for political point-scoring. With that in mind, British in Europe also urges Mr Davis to persuade EU negotiator Michel Barnier that an early agreement on our rights and those of the 3 million EU citizens in the UK should be ring-fenced against the possible future failure of the other aspects of the withdrawal agreement. The lack of ring-fencing simply prolongs the uncertainty for up to 5 million UK and EU citizens.”
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Ingrid Taylor reports from Munich: After two ‘Brexit Countdown’ evenings, it was time for a follow-up ‘Brexit Stammtisch’ to discuss all the events of recent weeks. On Monday, May 8th, a group of around 50 British professionals met to take stock. In a government declaration in the Bundestag, Angela Merkel herself had welcomed the contribution of British people to German society, and said we should stay. And the EU27 is also supporting our interests, as evidenced in their recently published draft negotiating guidelines (the content of which owes much to the efforts of the British in Europe Coalition). But we are still waiting for positive signals from across the Channel….
Everyone was encouraged to lobby local, national and European politicians, including those in the UK, in order to raise our concerns with those who have influence. A plea was also made for everyone who has a vote in the UK election to use it (with details of how to get your overseas vote on this website) Lawyer David Hole explained the nuances of acquired rights, pointed to the different interpretations on their future and the serious implications of their loss for UK citizens living in the EU27. Rob Harrison outlined the Coalition´s various initiatives and activities. And Monika Haines reported on her survey of local companies, aimed at finding out what their plans are as regards their British employees post-Brexit
Guardian Brexit correspondent Lisa O’Carroll came along to report on the event; she highlighted a number of the issues covered, and interviewed individuals about their concerns.
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STILL BARGAINING CHIPS: IT IS TIME FOR POLITICIANS IN THE EU AND UK TO PROVE THAT THEY REALLY CARE ABOUT THE 5 MILLION PEOPLE MOST IMPACTED BY BREXIT
April 29, 2017
Campaigners welcome early pledges from the EU to reach a rapid agreement on the maintenance of all existing citizenship rights of more than 3 million EU citizens living in the UK and more than one million UK citizens living in Europe, but fear that they are still being used as bargaining chips. The3Million and the British in Europe coalition say it is now time for politicians on both sides to prove that they really care about them, by reaching a swift, agreement that is ringfenced from the rest of the negotiations in order to protect their rights for the rest of their lifetimes under any kind of scenario.
A draft of the EU negotiating position leaked earlier this week did not include this promise, provoking further uncertainty about the future. The campaigners also call on UK political parties to include in their manifestos for the upcoming general election an explicit pledge to maintain all the acquired rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK.
“For the five million people currently trapped in Brexit limbo, the draft EU negotiating guidelines leaked earlier this week are the best news we have had since the referendum,” said Jeremy Morgan QC, a member of the British in Europe coalition, who lives in Italy. “They clearly state that we should hold on, for the rest of our lives, to all our acquired individual citizenship rights after Brexit and that a deal on this should be reached at the beginning of the negotiating process.”
“There is, however, one glaring hole in the guidelines, which means that none of this might happen,” Morgan added. “We need all sides to agree to ring-fence that deal so that it will continue to stand even if there is no wider agreement covering all other matters, or if this is delayed.”
“This reluctance, so far, to agree on ring-fencing means we remain bargaining chips and we urgently call on all sides to consider the impact of this on five million people who must already cope with the terrible uncertainties provoked by Brexit,” said Costanza de Toma, co-chair of the3Million’s EU-27 working group, which is lobbying EU institutions and national governments on citizenship rights.
“We cannot wait another two years before knowing whether we will really continue to enjoy any of our current rights that derive from our status as EU citizens, whether from Britain or elsewhere. People of all nationalities will suffer as a result,” she added.
British in Europe is also worried about the negotiating position of the UK government, which has been thrown up in the air by the decision to hold a general election in June. It calls on all UK parties to include in their manifestos an explicit pledge to maintain all the acquired rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK. This is now absolutely necessary if UK citizens in Europe are to maintain their current rights. We suggest that parties include in their manifestos the following basic principle for Brexit negotiations: ‘The UK’s withdrawal from the EU should not have retrospective effect on individuals. UK citizens currently resident in the EU and EU citizens currently resident in the UK should be expressly treated as continuing to have the same rights as they had before Brexit’.”
British in Europe is a coalition of a dozen UK citizens groups across the European Union
The3million is made up of EU citizens liiving in the UK and campaigns for their rights after Brexit
For more on this issue, or to comment on today’s events please contact.
Jeremy Morgan QC, British in Europe (Italy) +39 3888714943
Costanza de la Toma, The3Million +44 7900211523
Message from chair of Pro Europa Martin Bailey. Published with the permission of Pro Europa.
Dear Pro Europa supporters,
I am very sad to report the passing of Pro Europa’s founder, Sir Julian Priestley. Even though he had been battling with serious illness for some time, it has come as an enormous shock.
To many of us, he was a friend, a mentor, an inspiration; but however we knew him, he was to all of us Europhiles one of the great men of Europe, someone who confounded every prejudice of every Eurosceptic, Europhobe or any other brand of anti-European.
He devoted his entire professional life to the European project, and so richly deserved his knighthood for his services to Europe. And it is to Julian that we owe the existence of Pro Europa, and its many achievements.
I had the pleasure to work closely with Julian over the past years, a time of collaboration in which we became close personal friends. If there is one quality that most sets Julian apart from his peers, it is his personal and professional bravery. He was never the craven bureaucrat, never shied from standing up for the weak and never failed to speak truth to power. In many private conversations, as well as in displays of public oratory, he lamented the cowardice and handwringing of politicians and bureaucrats, who hid under the political bedclothes from the demons that threatened them.
For us members of Pro Europa, we pay tribute to Julian’s lifelong work for the European project. If I know him well, he would be telling us to keep on fighting, keep on making the arguments, keep on sticking our heads above the parapet, and now more than ever in these turbulent times. A light has gone out, but it is for us to be the new guardians of the flame that in his memory will forever burn brightly.
Our thoughts now go to his partner of over 30 years, Jean Schons, whom he recently married in 2015.
We will miss you Julian.
On behalf of Pro Europa,
Martin Bailey, Chair