21 JUNE – In response to UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid’s call for the EU 27 to publish more detail on its post-Brexit registration plans for UK citizens living on the continent, Jane Golding, Chair of British in Europe said:
‘Obviously, we welcome any interest from the UK government when it comes to fighting the corner of its 1.2 mn British nationals living on the continent.
However, as Mary Berry might have said: this display of concern from the British Government is a bit late and a bit rich. What the Home Secretary appears not to realise is that it is the UK government that has thrown its own nationals in Europe into this uncertainty by insisting on introducing settled status for EU citizens in the UK so that it became an option for us in the EU 27 in December’s last-minute deal.
The EU 27 was not interested in settled status up until then.
Furthermore, Mr Javid seems to be asking all the wrong questions. Rather than asking what systems the EU 27 are planning to set up he should know by now that the current registration systems across the EU27 are largely working well and that it is only France – along with the UK- that doesn’t require some form of registration for EU citizens. As such, he should be asking what the EU 27 is planning to do to tweak existing systems, rather than setting up new ones.
Perhaps Mr Javid, Mr Davis and Mrs May could come and talk to us about what people on the ground actually need rather than simply deciding what’s best for them.
If they did, they would also know that free movement remains a huge issue for British people on the continent. With 80% of Brits in the EU 27 working age or younger, many of us rely on it for work and to keep our families together. We need Mrs May to put it back on the table at next week’s summit as part of the withdrawal agreement. We think it would be an easy win for her and it would put people back at the heart of Brexit: helping her to meet one of her key negotiation objectives’.