[Scroll down for German version / Siehe unten für deutsche Fassung]
A group of about 20 Brits gathered in the pouring rain outside the Bavarian State Chancellery in Munich yesterday (July 26) to express our dissatisfaction about the Brexit negotiations. Inside were Bavaria´s Minister-President Horst Seehofer and David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the EU. What was on the agenda is not known – the press had not been invited and no statement was issued. And the meeting was only announced very shortly before it took place, so the Brits in Munich had little time to get a protest together. The message on their quickly produced posters: Talk to us! Save our EU rights! The UK and EU flags, flying together in the wind, spoke their own language.
Over 18,000 Brits live and work in Bavaria, and so far there has been very little consultation with us, from either the UK or the German authorities on our concerns as regards Brexit. We would welcome an opportunity – in the dry – to present our views in person.
Bei strömendem Regen versammelte sich eine Gruppe von bis zu 20 Briten gestern vor der bayerischen Staatskanzlei, um ihrem Unmut über die Brexitverhandlungen Luft zu lassen. Drinnen saßen Ministerpräsident Seehofer und David Davis, Britischer Minister für den Austritt Großbritanniens aus der EU, zu einem nicht öffentlichen und sehr kurzfristig angekündigten Besuch. Die Botschaft auf den Plakaten der versammelten britischen Bürger in Bayern: Reden Sie mit uns! 18.000 Briten leben und arbeiten in Bayern, und sie sehen ihre EU-Rechte in Gefahr. Die hoch gehaltenen Flaggen sprachen eine unmißverständliche Sprache – sie wollen in der EU bleiben. Die Gruppe erweckte die Aufmerksamkeit der vielen vorbeifahrenden Autofahrer, die ihre Unterstützung mit lautem Hupen signalisierten. Der Gast aus Westminster und der Ministerpräsident haben den Protest sicherlich auch bemerkt, und die Briten hoffen nun auf eine baldige Einladung ins Trockene, wo sie ihre Sorgen und Ängste näher besprechen können.
The BBC on 9 December 2016 reported statements by Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator , that the Associate EU citizenship proposal would be fast-tracked and would be on the table as part of the Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK (see BBC coverage). However, some experts in Brussels have since argued that the proposal is unlikely to progress as citizenship rights for citizens of a non-EU country would require Treaty change (see The Guardian coverage).
Associate EU Citizenship Proposal
Charles Goerens, MEP for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, has tabled an amendment to a Parliament report on the future institutional set up of the European Union, calling for the establishment of a European associate citizenship for those who feel and wish to be part of the European project, but are nationals of a former member state. See Charles Goerens’ blog here and his twitter feed with updates.
Speaking on behalf of New Europeans, Roger Casale, Founder and CEO said:
“It is essential that the position of EU citizens in Britain and Brits living in other EU member states is sorted out before Article 50 is triggered and Brexit negotiations begin. We live in the twenty-first century not the interwar period when governments bartered the rights of whole population groups. Even if the legal position is that the rights of EU citizens are not considered to be acquired rights under the Vienna convention, there can be no doubt that from a moral and political point of view, the UK government and the EU institutions and member states should recognise them as such and move swiftly to put the necessary legal safeguards in place. As far as the status of EU citizens and Brits who relocate post the 23 June vote, New Europeans and others will continue to campaign for the right to free movement to be maintained in any Brexit deal.”