JOINT RESPONSE RELEASED 1st JULY 2017 British in Europe and the3million publish their joint response to the UK’s Proposal of 26 June on Safeguarding Citizens’ Rights.
So what happened on 12th December?
The 3 Million group of EU Citizens in the UK combined handing in a letter to No.10 Downing Street with the release of the report by British Future; while doing a media blitz.
Did it work?
EU citizens were in the UK media all morning (it started with the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme) and through the afternoon on print radio, TV and online.
Why were EU citizens in the news?
Two things: the British Future report on our future status and our handing in of a letter to No.10
Yesterday, British Future published a report on the future status of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit following a 3-month inquiry lead by Gisela Stuart (chair of the Leave campaign) and a panel of cross party politicians, trade unionists, academics and business leaders.
The report made 14 recommendations to the Government in order to give a new bespoke Indefinite Leave to Remain to all EU citizens living lawfully in the UK up to when article 50 is triggered. It includes some suggestions for the Government to effectively register the 3 million EU citizens so everyone can stay
Please note that the report only looks at the future status of EU citizens after Brexit. Freedom of Movement was excluded from the scope of the report and therefore, there is no mention of the rules that would apply to future EU citizens coming in to the UK after the cutoff date.
A little more about the report
I’m repeating this summary of the report in case you haven’t seen it yet. These are the 14 recommendations made by British Future in its report on the status of EU citizens after Brexit:
1. Cutoff date when Art.50 is triggered to benefit of the following rights:
2. New legislation to convert Permanent Residency (PR) into bespoke Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status
3. EU citizens on the way to PR to have a 5-year transition period from Brexit
4. There are significant differences between PR and ILR (‘good character test’ english test, salary threshold, cost of application). Bespoke ILR for EU citizens not to exceed cost of passport (£72)
5. Bespoke ILR not to have English test or salary threshold
6 Children in care. Home Office to offer PR and ILR and entitled to legal aid
7. Family migration – 5 year transition period after Brexit to continue family migration.
8. Social and education rights. 5 year transitional period to upkeep right.
9. Pensions uprating for EU citizenship taking their pension in another EEA country
10. Local Authorities (LA) to be first line to approve PR for EU citizens for the same price (£65). More complicated cases to be referred to the Home Office). LA will check HMRC or DWP databases and approx. 1.8m people should see their application processed this way
11. More complex cases passed on to the Home Office to a special dedicated team
12. The Home Office should not refuse PR based on lack of Comprehensive Sickness Insurance *
13. The Home Office to run campaigns to engage EEA nationals and support vulnerable groups though an advice service
14. Offering the above status will create an enormous amount of good-will leaving no choice but for the EU to grant UK citizens in Europe similar rights
* the entitlement to the free NHS to be considered as fulfilling the CSI requirement for EU citizens
You can read British Future’s official statement at https://www.britishfuture.org/articles/eu-nationals-report/
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.
The independent website is carrying a story that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has blocked Theresa May’s proposal to guarantee EU citizens rights before Brexit negotiations begin in earnest next year. The story originally appeared on the Politico website and was apparently discussed during the two leaders meeting at the recent NATO summit.
It’s not entirely surprising, as Merkel has made it clear that there should be no negotiations before the UK finally declares its hand and submits its request to leave the European Union according to Article 50. The German government is frustrated that the UK has not clarified its thoughts on how it sees the future relationship with its major trading partners on the continent. Merkel rejected the proposal to cement “acquired rights” at this early stage – she’s probably worried that part of the UK’s negotiating tactics is to make as many side deals as possible in advance of the formal discussion.
Of course, for both UK citizens in other European countries and for EU citizens in the UK, it’s unsatisfactory. It would be have been useful to resolve their status at this early stage. It would remove, however, one negotiation card in the current Great Game being played out between London and Brussels.
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.”