British in Europe is a grassroots organisation driven by individuals coming together to make a difference. Here is a quick overview of our history…
A full list of activities can be found:
British in Italy, a member of the British in Europe coalition have just launched a new website. See it here
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.
Flyer for the Event:
The largest coalition of UK citizens groups in Europe laments that Article 50 has been triggered without first guaranteeing the existing rights of over four million people who were thrust into this Brexit limbo on the day after the referendum.
The British in Europe coalition now calls on all sides to agree that the people who are most directly affected by Brexit – over one million UK citizens in the EU, and around three million EU citizens in the UK – must have all their current rights maintained. This should be the first priority of Brexit negotiators and dealt with separately to all forthcoming issues. The lives and livelihoods of so many people must not be bargained away for material gains on either side of the negotiating table.
“Over four million people – including over one million UK citizens in the EU – must be put first in Brexit negotiations, with a deal hammered out quickly to release them from this ongoing suffering and uncertainty. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU must not affect individuals retrospectively,” said the coalition’s spokesperson Jane Golding based in Berlin.
Golding added: “The existing rights of these citizens resident in another EU country before the UK leaves – must be guaranteed. This is not just the right and moral thing to do, it is also the simplest and fairest solution.“
Fiona Godfrey based in Luxembourg with the coalition added: “If UK politicians disagree, and given that the government insists any future arrangement will be reciprocal, then Mrs May must explain to the electorate exactly which rights she believes over one million UK citizens currently residing in the EU should be deprived of after Brexit.”
Both the UK government and EU27 states already agree that those resident in the UK or other EU27 countries before the UK leaves the EU must be treated differently to those who arrive afterwards. The British in Europe coalition believes this can be settled quickly and smoothly if all sides agree that their existing acquired rights are guaranteed.
“We were very heartened by the determination of Michel Barnier in our meeting with him yesterday in Brussels, to put our rights first in the negotiations,” added Godfrey. “The UK government has indicated that it too, wants to make this a priority. We would like to build a similar working relationship with the UK government and very much hope that we will be able to meet David Davis in the near future.”
For further information or interview requests contact us here.
The greatest ever number of European citizens have come together across Europe in one weekend to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and mark their support for the future of the European Union.
Below photos of British in Europe coalition members attending marches in Rome, Madrid, Berlin, Paris and London. (please send in more and we’ll put more up)
The European Movement amongst others raised legitimate concerns yesterday about the advisability of holding the Unite for Europe March after Wednesday’s terrorist attack, but we wish to confirm that the organisers have decided that the march should proceed.
We encourage any member who participates in the march to join in homage to the dead and injured from the Westminster outrage – and recall that the EU is united in its commitment to stand against terrorism.
5 representatives of the citizen organisations British in Europe and the 3million group have been invited on 28 March by chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier for informal discussions before Article 50 is triggered by the British Government.
Nicolas Hatton, founder of the3million, said:
“This raises the possibility of an early deal to secure our rights, which makes me really hopeful about the future.”
Jane Golding from British in Europe, the coalition of 12 citizens groups in the EU, said:
“We are pleased he wishes to engage with us, and will be asking him to seek a rapid solution based on maintaining the existing rights of 4 million people – including the 3 million EU citizens now resident in the UK – currently trapped in Brexit limbo.”
The meeting will take place in Brussels on 28th March and updates from the meeting will follow..
So what happened on 12th December?
The 3 Million group of EU Citizens in the UK combined handing in a letter to No.10 Downing Street with the release of the report by British Future; while doing a media blitz.
Did it work?
EU citizens were in the UK media all morning (it started with the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme) and through the afternoon on print radio, TV and online.
Why were EU citizens in the news?
Two things: the British Future report on our future status and our handing in of a letter to No.10
Yesterday, British Future published a report on the future status of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit following a 3-month inquiry lead by Gisela Stuart (chair of the Leave campaign) and a panel of cross party politicians, trade unionists, academics and business leaders.
The report made 14 recommendations to the Government in order to give a new bespoke Indefinite Leave to Remain to all EU citizens living lawfully in the UK up to when article 50 is triggered. It includes some suggestions for the Government to effectively register the 3 million EU citizens so everyone can stay
Please note that the report only looks at the future status of EU citizens after Brexit. Freedom of Movement was excluded from the scope of the report and therefore, there is no mention of the rules that would apply to future EU citizens coming in to the UK after the cutoff date.
A little more about the report
I’m repeating this summary of the report in case you haven’t seen it yet. These are the 14 recommendations made by British Future in its report on the status of EU citizens after Brexit:
1. Cutoff date when Art.50 is triggered to benefit of the following rights:
2. New legislation to convert Permanent Residency (PR) into bespoke Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status
3. EU citizens on the way to PR to have a 5-year transition period from Brexit
4. There are significant differences between PR and ILR (‘good character test’ english test, salary threshold, cost of application). Bespoke ILR for EU citizens not to exceed cost of passport (£72)
5. Bespoke ILR not to have English test or salary threshold
6 Children in care. Home Office to offer PR and ILR and entitled to legal aid
7. Family migration – 5 year transition period after Brexit to continue family migration.
8. Social and education rights. 5 year transitional period to upkeep right.
9. Pensions uprating for EU citizenship taking their pension in another EEA country
10. Local Authorities (LA) to be first line to approve PR for EU citizens for the same price (£65). More complicated cases to be referred to the Home Office). LA will check HMRC or DWP databases and approx. 1.8m people should see their application processed this way
11. More complex cases passed on to the Home Office to a special dedicated team
12. The Home Office should not refuse PR based on lack of Comprehensive Sickness Insurance *
13. The Home Office to run campaigns to engage EEA nationals and support vulnerable groups though an advice service
14. Offering the above status will create an enormous amount of good-will leaving no choice but for the EU to grant UK citizens in Europe similar rights
* the entitlement to the free NHS to be considered as fulfilling the CSI requirement for EU citizens
You can read British Future’s official statement at http://www.britishfuture.org/articles/eu-nationals-report/