Category Archives: British in Europe

BiE and the3million respond to Round 2 of Brexit Negotiations

British in Europe and the3million have written to DExEU, the Home Office, the EU Commission and Parliament with their comments on Round 2 of the negotiations on citizens’ rights, urging them to take them into account in future rounds.

Read or download the full document here. 

The main concerns expressed are:

  • The continued failure of both sides, but particularly the UK, to recognise that we have acquired rights which cannot be taken away so that we cannot be asked to “apply” for a “grant” of something less.
  • The EU’s apparent U-turn on accepting that those of us who have exercised the right of free movement by moving to an EU27 country should continue to have that right and be free to live, work etc in other EU27 countries.
  • The UK’s attempt to defuse criticism of its proposal to make EU citizens with a right of permanent residence apply for a grant of “settled status” under UK immigration rules.  They say that settled status will be interpreted according to EU rules on permanent residence.  But the result will be an unclear mish-mash of two incompatible systems with the only predictable result being years of uncertainty.  We don’t know how much of the highly restrictive UK immigration rules they want to keep for those from the EU but, for example, the UK has recently all but abolished the right of appeal in immigration cases,  an abolition which until Brexit does not apply to EEA citizens.   
  • The determination by both sides to keep the rule that you lose a right of permanent residence if you leave your residence for 2 years.  If we all have rights of free movement then this does not create a hardship because if you leave your residence for more than 2 years you have a right to return and re-acquire permanent residence rights after 5.  If freedom of movement is removed, however, then you lose that right.  Given that many people have good reasons to leave for more than 2 years (think students, think those who move back ‘home’ to look after an ageing relative), this can cause real hardship.  The UK is proposing some flexibility here, but if the “flexibility” it shows in the comparable case of non-EU citizens is anything to go by, this will be so limited as to be of little real assistance.
  • The EU’s failure to concede voting rights in local elections, though this may just be a bureaucratic issue of whether this is appropriate for the Article 50 agreement.
  • The continued failure to discuss, let alone agree, ring-fencing of any agreement which is made on citizens’ rights.

The British in Europe/the3million response document deals with a number of other issues of detail raised in round 2, which those who want to can read if they follow the link above.  However it does not go over all the same old ground which we have covered in earlier official publications, so there may well be issues which are important to you which are not mentioned:  we will deal with them as they come up (or not) in subsequent rounds of the negotiation.

What has been reassuring is that, as a result of the extensive lobbying we have done, British in Europe and the3million are now being consulted by officials at a very high level on both sides of the Channel.  We were debriefed on round 2 almost immediately after the official press conference and invited to have a continuing dialogue with the negotiating teams so that the views of those most directly affected, the citizens whose rights are in issue, are taken into account.

BiE press release on first day of Brexit negotiations

TIME FOR THE UK TO MAKE CLEAR ITS POSITION ON CITIZENS’ RIGHTS.
THE FUTURE OF 1.2 MILLION UK CITIZENS IS AT STAKE

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.”

Click here to open Press Release 19th June  Released: 0600 CET

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BiE meet German Foreign Ministry

Meeting German Foreign Ministry
British in Europe representatives met with the German Foreign Ministry on Wednesday 7th June and had an open discussion and dialogue with promise of further dialogue.
The German Foreign Ministry, British in Europe and the3million have tweeted below:

Report from Munich Brexit Stammtisch 8th May

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….

Brexit Stammtisch, Munich. Lively discussions between company owners, managers, IT specialists, musicians, construction engineers, teachers, translators, patent attorneys, accountants and actuaries. Photo: Dominik Gigler.

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

 

 

Businessmen exchange views on the impact of Brexit on their Munich-based companies. Photo: Dominik Gigler. Photo: Dominik Gigler.

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. 

Read her report here

A British retiree, whose son has mental health problems and is in care, explains her worries to the reporter. Photo: Dominik Gigler.

Flyer for the Event: