Citizens’ rights are not done and dusted. Negotiators must finish the job and national governments give us certainty so we can get on with our lives.
Firstly, I want to say a big thank you for your continuous support. We are not professional campaigners or politicians, and we couldn’t do it without knowing you are behind us.
We took the picture above as we, the3million and British in Europe, were coming out of the British Parliament on Wednesday, united as one team.
It was day three of our lobby on citizens’ rights, after meetings with the European Commission, European Council Representatives of member states, dozens of MEPs, and appearing at the Brexit Select Committee in London.
Our message was loud and clear: citizens’ rights are not done and dusted, and we need the negotiators to finish the job and national governments to give us certainty so we can get on with our lives.
Luke, Costanza and Fiona before meeting the EU Commission.
In Brussels, our lobbying marathon team was composed by Dimitri, Hedwig, Toni, Wiard, Ilse, Zosfia, Maike, Luke, Paulo and Costanza, together with our friends from British in Europe.
We met MEPs and Council representatives from Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Romania, the UK, Portugal, Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands! And with the European Commission of course.
We raised our concerns on the outstanding issues on citizens’ rights, and we put forward our proposal for a Citizens’ Rights Protocol to be annexed to the Withdrawal Agreement.
We met with political leaders and key Brexit advisors from the five largest political groups at the European Parliament and our proposal for a Protocol was very well received.
So, our work continues, and we were encouraged by many to keep it up to the bitter end as no one is expecting anything meaningful to happen at the EU Council meeting in June. That means we won’t know whether we’ll end up with a deal or not until October.
In London, this was the second time Anne-Laure and I were presenting at the committee, so we knew the format (a front table where we were sitting, opposite a U shape table with MPs, with the chair Hilary Ben at the centre).
We had previously submitted written evidence (You can download our 6-page PDF here), so the oral session was the opportunity to answer questions from MPs.
Aside from Anne-Laure and me, Barbara Drozdowicz, of the East European Resource Centre, was excellent and the feedback afterwards was 100% positive from Hilary Ben (Labour), Hywell Williams (Plaid Cymru), Joanna Cherry (SNP), Richard Graham (Con) and Wera Hobhouse (LibDems).
Now, there was this incident, when Andrea Jenkyns MP accused the3million of scaremongering:
Important that EU citizens are protected and feel comfortable post-Brexit, as UK citizens living in the EU should be too. Nevertheless organisations claiming to help when they are spreading fear must be challenged. pic.twitter.com/amqlFcBUnu— Andrea Jenkyns MP (@andreajenkyns) June 6, 2018
The sequence cuts before the majority of the Committee reacted in shock.
We are not scaremongering; we are scared because 715 days since the results of the referendum, we still have 150 valid questions about settled status and no legal guarantees. Raising valid concerns about the hostile environment, and asking questions about our future while proposing reasonable solutions so everyone can stay and get on with their lives is hardly scaremongering.
3 hours later, Andrea Jenkyns MP went to pressurise the Prime Minister on ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’ in PMQ, despite being told 3 hours earlier that no deal means most EU citizens in the UK would become illegal immigrants overnight on 29 March 2019.
No deal is better than a bad deal. I ask the Prime Minister, in what circumstances is she prepared to walk away from the negotiations, saving the British taxpayer billions of pounds. #PMQs #Brexit pic.twitter.com/2nd1ezSv2D— Andrea Jenkyns MP (@andreajenkyns) June 6, 2018
Unless No Deal proponents support a backstop on citizens’ rights, this is what instils fear in our hearts.
Our David vs. Goliath battle continues. Please, become a supporter if you haven’t joined us yet.
To be continued...🔷
PS: - Please become a member of the3million today. - While the campaign intensifies, we must continue to fight for our rights, alongside our friends in British in Europe. If you can donate, please continue to do so so that our team of full time volunteers can be supported to continue this crucial work.
- Join the3million mailing list today to receive the latest news about the3million and the campaign for all EU citizens living in the EU to retain their existing rights after Brexit.
(This piece was originally published on the3million newsletter.)