Statement on post-Brexit citizens’ rights for the EU citizens in the UK and the British in Europe to EU Leaders and the EU Commission.
British in Europe and the3million are looking on in horror as politics in the UK Parliament reach yet another low. It is now 902 days since the EU referendum in the UK and we still have no certainty regarding our citizenship rights post-Brexit.
Certain rights are protected in the Withdrawal Agreement but by no means all and both groups stand to lose even if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified.
But the mayhem of the last week has only served to take us further from the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement. We are being dragged closer than ever to the cliff edge and crashing out without a guarantee of our rights at midnight on 29 March 2019.
For British in Europe the consequences will be disastrous. Unless all 27 EU Member States move to enact legislation before March we will become third country nationals with no legal basis for our residence in our host states.
Overnight we will lose our current right to live, work and study in countries we have called our home for many years. Our driving licenses will no longer be valid, and our car insurance will lapse. We will lose entitlement to social security benefits and all but emergency health care.
The UK has offered to safeguard most of the rights of EU27 citizens in the UK through the 2018 EU Withdrawal Act and the settlement scheme. The UK Government has confirmed this will apply even in the event of a no deal, but our status will be further diminished, as will our rights to family reunification and to appeal for example.
And Parliamentary sovereignty dictates that legislation could be overturned overnight if future talks don’t go the way British MPs would like.
We have consistently warned of the risk of a no deal from our very first joint interactions with the UK government, Michel Barnier and EU27 governments in the spring of 2017 and urged all parties to agree early on a text on citizens’ rights and to ring-fence it.
Each time we have been told, “Now is not the right time to discuss this, we are working towards a deal.” Well, we may want a deal too, but we are less and less convinced that Santa Claus will bring us that this Christmas.
The UK in particular but also EU27 governments, the European Parliament and the Article 50 Task Force will have all let us down on citizens’ rights, and it is the3million and British in Europe who will find themselves penalised for believing in the European ideal come 30 March 2019 through no fault of their own.
This has gone on long enough. It is time for the EU to show once and for all that 5 million people, who by exercising their free movement rights have helped build the Single Market and the EU project, are more important than car parts. Show us some respect, ring-fence our rights now - and give us solid proof that we are a priority.🔷
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(This piece was originally published on Twitter.)