The Costa Amendment passed, but we now need you to write to the president of the European Council Donald Tusk to express your strongest concern about the current EU position. The ball is clearly in his court.
I still don’t quite believe what happened yesterday in Parliament.
Ever since the referendum results were declared, the country has been split into two camps, without much dialogue, or a will to find a common solution. Until yesterday.
Thanks to your support over the last 2-1/2 years, and to the courage of Alberto Costa MP this week, who broke ranks with his own party to work in partnership with the3million and British in Europe, Leavers and Remainers, left-wing and right-wings politicians, unionists and nationalists spoke as one nation to say that enough was enough for the 5 million EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU.
Unanimously, MPs voted for the Costa Amendment, which means Theresa May will be writing to Donald Tusk and the EU Heads of State, to ask them to instruct the European Commission to implement the part of the withdrawal agreement about citizens’ rights, regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations on everything else.
In other words, if the EU Council steps up to the plate, this will be our guarantee against no-deal so a warm thank to you all, and to Alberto Costa. We love you!
Yet, as you can see, our rights are not protected. Thanks to the unity and solidarity between the3million and British in Europe, our lobby of the British institutions has been successful, but we now need to convince the heads of state of the EU27 countries to agree at their next European Council to drop their inflexible policy ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ and mandate their executive the European Commission to protect our rights under Article 50, in case of the no-deal.
Not only does Article 50 allow such flexibility (you can read the excellent article by our in-house Professor of EU law Stijn Smismans), but it would be completely perverse if the European Union was to leave us high and dry, following such an extraordinary move from the UK Parliament.
If the European ideals are still alive, there is only one way to go, and it is for the EU to agree with the British Government to ring-fence our citizens’ rights now.
Therefore, I invite you to write to the president of the European Council Donald Tusk today to express your strongest concern about the current EU position, and to stop using 5 million people as bargaining chips. The ball is clearly in his court.
It has to be said yesterday did not happen out of nothing. Through the strong solidarity we have built with our friends British in Europe since 2016 , and the support of UNISON in the three mass lobbies of Parliament we have done over the last 24 months, we have created a momentum which has led to this extraordinary outcome. We also gathered the support of many other organisations such as British Future, In Limbo and JCWI, who are brilliant in their own right, and their support for the ring-fencing of our rights also played a significant role.
Since 2016, the 50 or so people behind the3million have put their lives on pause to dedicate ourselves to the cause, so it's particularly pleasing to have the kind of positive impact none of us thought was possible before we started.
We are still the normal folks we were back in 2016, but with a political acumen other organisations would die for. the3million has many more battles around settled status, and the risk of the hostile environment for vulnerable EU citizens, so please support us by either making a one-off donation, or by becoming a paying supporter with a recurring donation.
Happy writing to President Tusk!🔷
Did you know the3million is the leading non-profit organisation of EU citizens in the UK? We are grateful of your support, as we simply couldn’t have campaigned for citizens’ rights over the last 24 months without you. If you can afford it, please become a paying supporter today to allow the campaign to continue for the next 24 months and beyond if necessary.
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(This piece was originally published on the3million newsletter. | The author writes in a personal capacity.)