domingo, 24 de marzo de 2019

"WE WANT OUR RIGHTS, NOT BREXIT!" - THE PLEA OF BRITISH CITIZENS IN MADRID

EuroCitizens demonstration in Madrid 23/03/19

Hundreds of British citizens demonstrated in Madrid on 23 March to show their support of the People’s Vote, bearing placards with messages such as “Can’t live without EU by our side” and chanting slogans in English and Spanish like “¡Derechos sí, Brexit no!” (“We want our rights, not Brexit!”).


The chaos currently reigning in British politics is causing serious concern and stress among British citizens in Spain, who are well aware that the implementation of the Spanish contingency plan to deal with their situation as smoothly as possible in the event of no deal, depends on the reciprocity of the British government towards European citizens. The only moment of silence in a day that was full of chanting, poetry and music (both flamenco and bagpipes), was when Michael Harris, chair of EuroCitizens, asked the public “Who trusts the British Government now?” No-one raised their hand.


The 314.000 legally registered British residents include workers, retired people, students and their families, and even local councillors, who have made their homes in Spain. Camilla Hillier-Fry, vice-chair of EuroCitizens, highlighted that the association has maintained a continuous dialogue with the Spanish Administration and emphasised the understanding of citizens’ plight shown by all political parties.  “We truly hope that Spain continues to be as inclusive and welcoming as it has been until now and that these contingency measures that give us some peace of mind will be properly communicated to every town council and police station throughout Spain, ensuring that all British residents are treated equally. We want to keep on being a part of Spanish society.”


The Spanish spokesperson for the3million, Silvia González, joined the demonstration via a video link and shared the many concerns of European residents in the UK.


The demonstration, held in Margaret Thatcher Square in Madrid, concluded with the “Ode to Joy”, played by the bagpiper and accompanied by all the demonstrators. The chair of EuroCitizens summed up people’s feelings “They can take away our European citizenship, but we are still Europeans”.





EuroCitizens is an association created to defend the rights of British citizens to live, work and study in the EU27. It forms part of the coalition British in Europe and works closely with the3million.

More photos: 

lunes, 18 de marzo de 2019

23M: DEMONSTRATION IN MADRID FOR CITIZENS' RIGHTS AND CALLING FOR A SECOND REFERENDUM


On Saturday 23 March (12.00 Plaza Margaret Thatcher, Colón, Madrid) the British in Europe group EuroCitizens will organise an event in defence of the rights of the five million Europeans in the UK and Britons in the EU and to ask for a second Brexit referendum. We intend to have fun, with activities for children, poetry and music as well as the speeches, and to celebrate our European identity which is now in jeopardy.

Because of Brexit, thousands of British and Spanish citizens have spent nearly three years living with mounting uncertainty. The imminent possibility of a no-deal Brexit makes all this even worse and affects the futures of thousands of people, especially those who are under thirty. In our opinion, this situation must stop.

EuroCitizens thanks the Spanish government for the publication of the Royal Decree 5/2019 which will ease as much as possible the transition of UK residents here to Third-Country Nationals – with all the implications that the change has for us and our families. At the same time, the British government has begun the process of giving 'settled status' to Europeans living in the UK. However, the measures in both countries are unilateral and with no legal guarantee. If the UK fails to reciprocate in all of the areas covered in the Royal Decree, the Spanish government can rescind the special measures for UK citizens. Likewise, a change of UK government could mean a toughening of the requirements needed to gain settled status for Spaniards in Britain.   

Because of this, British in Europe (Britons in the EU) and the3million (Europeans in the UK) are asking for the ring-fencing of the citizens' rights included in the Withdrawal Agreement. This agreement is by no means perfect, amongst other things ending the freedom of movement of UKinEU, but ring-fencing it would give both groups the legal certainty of an international treaty.

On 27 February the House of Commons unanimously passed the Costa Amendment to ring-fence the rights of the five million. However, in its subsequent letter to the EU, the British government did not even propose ring-fencing. Meanwhile, the EU has made deals with the UK on aviation and finance, but refuses to discuss citizens' rights. Since the EEA and Switzerland have agreed with the UK to guarantee citizens' rights, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a Norwegian or a Swiss citizen would have more rights in Britain than a Spaniard or a German. A profoundly unjust situation.

An alternative to ring-fencing of citizens' rights is a People's Vote, because to stay in the EU is the best way of guaranteeing our existing rights. Thus we are asking for a second referendum, with a franchise that includes all of the five million Britons in the EU and Europeans in the UK. If that happens, we are optimistic about a victory for Remain. For EuroCitizens such a result would be the end of a long nightmare and would give us the possibility of continuing to live our European dream. We are Europeans. We feel European. We have exercised our European citizenship for years. And we want to continue being Europeans.

23M: POR OTRO REFERÉNDUM Y EL BLINDAJE DE LOS DERECHOS DE LOS ESPAÑOLES EN EL RU Y LOS BRITÁNICOS EN ESPAÑA

COMUNICADO DE EUROCITIZENS 18/03/19

El sábado 23 de marzo (12h Plaza Margaret Thatcher, Colón, Madrid) EuroCitizens, una asociación que pertenece a la coalición British in Europe, organiza una concentración en defensa de los derechos de los cinco millones de europeos en el Reino Unido y británicos en la Unión Europea y para pedir un segundo referéndum sobre la salida de Gran Bretaña de la UE. Será un acto lúdico – con actividades para niños, poesía y música además de los discursos – en el que celebraremos nuestra identidad europea.

Por causa del Brexit, miles de españoles y británicos llevamos casi tres años conviviendo con una creciente incertidumbre. La inminente posibilidad de una salida sin acuerdo del RU no sólo acentúa esta ansiedad, sino afecta los proyectos vitales de miles de personas y especialmente los de la gente joven.

EuroCitizens agradece al gobierno español la publicación del Real decreto-ley 5/2019 que hará lo más suave posible, en el caso de una salida del RU sin acuerdo, la transición de los residentes británicos de ciudadanos europeos al estatus de nacionales de un tercer país, con todo lo que eso implica para nosotros y nuestras familias. A su vez el gobierno británico ha iniciado el proceso para convertir a los tres millones de europeos en residentes con el estatus de 'asentado'. Sin embargo, las medidas de ambos países son unilaterales y sin ninguna garantía legal. Si el Reino Unido no cumple de manera recíproca en todos los ámbitos del Real decreto-ley, el gobierno español puede rescindir las medidas para la ciudadanía. Asimismo, un sencillo cambio de gobierno podría significar para los españoles en el Reino Unido un endurecimiento de los requisitos para conseguir el estatus de asentado.

Por eso, the3million (europeos en el RU) y British in Europe (británicos en la UE) piden el blindaje de los derechos de la ciudadanía en el Acuerdo de Retirada. Este acuerdo no es perfecto y entre otras cosas termina con la libre circulación de los británicos en la UE, pero daría la seguridad jurídica de un tratado internacional a los dos colectivos.

El 27 de febrero el Parlamento Británico aprobó la enmienda Costa para blindar los derechos de los cinco millones. Sin embargo, en la carta que el gobierno británico envió a la Comisión Europea, ni siquiera lo propuso. Mientras tanto, la UE ha alcanzado acuerdos con el RU sobre la aviación y las finanzas, pero se niega a hablar sobre la ciudadanía. Dado que los países del Espacio Económico Europeo y el RU sí han acordado blindar los derechos de los ciudadanos, en el caso de un Brexit sin acuerdo un noruego y un suizo que residen en Gran Bretaña tendrían más derechos que un español y un portugués. Una situación profundamente injusta.

Una alternativa al blindaje de los derechos de los ciudadanos es un segundo referéndum, porque la permanencia del RU en la UE es la mejor forma de garantizar todos los derechos actuales de europeos y británicos. Por eso pedimos que se celebre una segunda consulta popular y que en el sufragio se incluyan los cinco millones de europeos en el RU y británicos en la UE. En este caso confiamos en la victoria de la opción europeista. Para EuroCitizens este resultado sería el final de una larga pesadilla y la posibilidad de seguir viviendo nuestro sueño europeo. Somos europeos, nos sentimos europeos, hemos ejercido de europeos durante muchos años y queremos seguir siendo ciudadanos europeos.    

23M: EUROCITIZENS TAKES TO THE STREETS OF MADRID

Brexit is only eleven days away unless something happens at the last minute, so now is the time for us to get out on the streets and make our voices felt.

On Saturday, we are organising our very own demonstration in central Madrid (12h Plaza Margaret Thatcher, Metro Colón/Serrano). Our aim is to support the third March for a People's Vote in London, because staying in the EU is the best way for us to keep our existing rights. We will also be asking for the ring-fencing of the citizens' rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement, to give legal protection to the five million Europeans in the UK and Britons in the EU.

We have permission for the demonstration and a lot of work has been done by a small group of volunteers. At the event, there will be two or three short speeches, a link-up with London, a video about EuroCitizens, poems, music and fun activities for children and adults.

What you can do:

- come along dressed up in blue and yellow - you can even paint your face and wear a wig!
- make your own placard (there will be a prize for the best one)
- be ready to have fun and make lots of noise

We need more volunteers to help out on the day. Write to: eurocitizens2016@gmail.com

Please share this information with as many people as possible. We look forward to seeing you this Saturday in La Plaza Margaret Thatcher!

domingo, 10 de marzo de 2019

REUNIÓN SOBRE LOS PLANES DE CONTINGENCIA PARA LOS BRITÁNICOS EN ESPAÑA



El 6 de marzo dos representantes de EuroCitizens se reunieron en el Ministerio de Trabajo, Migraciones y Seguridad Social con representantes de dicho ministerio, de la Presidencia de Gobierno y del Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Unión Europea y Cooperación. Antes de la reunión habíamos presentado una serie de preguntas sobre el texto del Real Decreto-Ley 5/2019, que da cobertura legal a los planes de contingencia del gobierno español para un Brexit sin acuerdo.

Todos los asistentes estuvimos de acuerdo en que una retirada del Reino Unido acordada sería mucho mejor, porque daría la seguridad jurídica de un tratado internacional, tanto a los españoles en el Reino Unido como a los británicos en España, con compromisos para todas las partes. EuroCitizens también señaló que, tras la reciente moción unánime en el parlamento británico, los grupos British in Europe y the3million estamos buscando de la UE el blindaje de los derechos sobre la ciudadanía en el acuerdo de retirada, en el caso de una salida sin acuerdo.

Una funcionaria del MITRAMISS comenzó dándonos un breve repaso del Real Decreto-ley. Las medidas son temporales, unilaterales y sujetas a la reciprocidad por parte del RU. El gobierno español analizará, después de un tiempo mínimo de dos meses del Brexit, la reciprocidad por parte del RU de las medidas en los ámbitos que expresamente prevé la norma y puede decidir en cualquier momento la suspensión de las medidas.

Una vez que se produzca la retirada sin acuerdo, los residentes británicos en España se convertirán en nacionales de un tercer Estado, pasando a estar sujetos al régimen general de extranjería, pero resultando de aplicación las particularidades y especialidades que prevé el Real Decreto-Ley.
En este sentido, para garantizar un tránsito adecuado del régimen de comunitarios al régimen de extranjería, causando los menores perjuicios posibles a los ciudadanos, el gobierno español prevé que, durante un periodo transitorio de veintiún meses, (finales de 2020 si la retirada se produce el 29 de marzo de 2019), la actual documentación de los británicos en España seguirá siendo válida, y les permitirá acreditar su residencia legal en España. Todos los residentes, (las personas con más y las con menos de cinco años de residencia), tendrán que cambiar sus certificados verdes de ciudadano europeo por una Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjero, aportando, además del certificado de registro o tarjeta de familiar, su pasaporte, un impreso de solicitud, la tasa y una foto.

Las personas que no dispongan de certificado de registro, podrán acreditar su residencia en España por cualquier otro medio de prueba admitido en derecho (contrato de trabajo; contrato de alquiler; empadronamiento…). Sin embargo, quienes se encuentren en esta situación tendrán que pedir una cita previa para obtener la nueva documentación correspondiente a la condición de nacionales de tercer Estado, para lo cual deberán acreditar su residencia en España. Para aquellos que hubieran residido en España de forma continuada durante, al menos, cinco años, podrán obtener una autorización de residencia de larga duración. Los detalles sobre los requisitos y procedimientos de documentación de los nacionales del Reino Unido se conocerán tras la publicación de las instrucciones en el BOE. Sin embargo, tanto para las solicitudes como para las renovaciones, los requisitos serán muy similares a los que actualmente se exigen a nacionales de Estados Miembros.

El gobierno español también garantizará, de forma unilateral y sujeto a reciprocidad -y a la obligación por parte del Gobierno británico de reembolso de los gastos sanitarios- la continuidad de la asistencia sanitaria para los pensionistas del Reino Unido que están en el sistema S1 e incluso para los visitantes británicos al país. Los residentes británicos que cotizan en el sistema español de seguridad social tienen asegurada, en todo caso, la asistencia sanitaria, aún en el caso de que no haya reciprocidad. Al terminar el periodo transitorio de veintiún meses, el Real Decreto-Ley prevé la posibilidad de prorrogar este plazo para continuar con la coordinación sobre asistencia sanitaria y seguridad social, en el caso de que no haya sido acordado un tratado o tratados internacionales que cubren estos ámbitos. También seguirá la coordinación en materia de Seguridad Social, bajo el paraguas de un nuevo reglamento de la Comisión Europea.

EuroCitizens sacará una nota explicativa para los británicos en España con más detalles del Real Decreto-ley y cómo afectarán los planes de contingencia a distintos grupos. Nuestro grupo difundirá aquella información con otras asociaciones de residentes británicos en España, así como con la Embajada Británica en Madrid. También seguiremos haciendo preguntas sobre el impacto del Real Decreto-ley en la ciudadanía y esperamos tener otra reunión con la administración cuando se publiquen las instrucciones en el BOE. Agradecemos los esfuerzos de la administración española para sacar adelante esta ley con tan poco tiempo, con el propósito de evitar las graves complicaciones de un Brexit sin acuerdo de retirada para los británicos que residimos en España.

MEETING ABOUT SPANISH GOVERNMENT CONTINGENCY PLANS FOR BRITISH RESIDENTS


On Wednesdy 6 March two EuroCitizens had a productive meeting in the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security with representatives of that ministry, Presidency and Foreign Affairs. Beforehand, we had sent them a series of questions about the Royal Decree 5/2019 (Real Decreto-ley 5/2019), which provides legal coverage for the Spanish administration's contingency plans in the event of a No-Deal Brexit.

All those present agreed that the UK's departure under the Withdrawal Agreement would be a better outcome, as it would give the legal certainty of an international treaty to both Spaniards in Britain and Britons in Spain, with both sides legally committed to the agreement. EuroCitizens also pointed out that, after the recent and unanimous vote at Westminster, British in Europe and the3million are seeking the support of the EU for the ring-fencing of the citizens' rights section of the Withdrawal Agreement if there is no deal.

A civil servant from the Labour Ministry gave us an overview of the Royal Decree. The measures in it are temporary, unilateral and subject to reciprocity from the UK. The Spanish government will analyse, after a minimum of two months from Brexit, the UK's reciprocity in terms of the measures in the areas covered by the Royal Decree. Having done this, the government could decide at any moment to suspend the law.

After a no-deal Brexit, UK residents in Spain will become Third Country Nationals (Nacionales de un Tercer País) and will come under the General Immigration Regime for Foreigners (Régimen General de Extranjería), but the special conditions outlined in the Royal Decree will be applied to us.

The Spanish government's aim is to guarantee for Britons a smooth transition from EU citizen status to Third Country National Status, with as little disruption as possible. Spain will consider, for a period of twenty-one months (until the end of 2020 if the transition happens on 29/03/19), the current documentation of UK citizens in Spain to be still valid and to accredit legal residence. All British residents, those with more or less than five years residence, will have to change their green EU Citizen Certificates (or cards) for a Foreigners' Identity Card (Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjero). To do this they will have to provide their registration certificate or EU family member card, their passport, an application form, the fee and a photo.

Those Britons who do not have a registration certificate will be able to accredit their residence in Spain using legally admitted proof such as a work contract, a rental contract, town hall registration etc. However, people in this situation will need to ask for a prior appointment to demonstrate their residence and then to obtain the corresponding third-country national documentation. UK citizens who have lived in Spain legally for at least five years will be able to apply for long-term residence (residencia de larga duración). The details of the requirements and procedures for the documenting of British nationals will be published in the Official State Newsletter (Boletín Oficial del Estado) as the 'instructions' (instrucciones) related to Decree 5/2019. However, for both initial applications and subsequent renewals, the requirements will be similar to those currently applied to EU citizens.

The Spanish government will also guarantee, unilaterally and subject to reciprocity – and the UK government's obligation to pay for the medical expenses of its citizens – the continued provision of healthcare to the UK pensioners who are in the S1 system and even for British visitors in the country. UK residents who pay into the Spanish social security system will be guaranteed healthcare even if there is no reciprocity from Britain. At the end of the twenty-one-month transition period, the Royal Decree includes the possibility of an extension, which could extend the coordination of healthcare and social security in the event that an international treaty has not been agreed to cover these areas. Social security coordination will also be dealt with under a new regulation from the EU Commission.

EuroCitizens will publish an explanatory note for UK citizens in Spain with more details of the Royal Decree and FAQs about how the contingency plans will affect different groups. Our association will share this information with other British citizens' groups in Spain and with the UK Embassy in Madrid. We will also continue to ask questions about the implementation of the Royal Decree on UK citizens and hope to have another meeting with the Spanish administration when the instructions linked to the Decree are published in the Official State Newsletter. We thank the government for its hard work in bringing out this law in such a short time in order to avoid the worst consequences of a no-deal Brexit for Britons in Spain.

Link to Decreto-ley 5/2019: 
https://www.boe.es/diario_boe/txt.php?id=BOE-A-2019-2976

miércoles, 20 de febrero de 2019

PLEASE LOBBY FOR THE 'COSTA AMENDMENT' TO RING-FENCE CITIZENS' RIGHTS

A Conservative MP, Alberto Costa, is proposing an amendment to the motion being voted on in the House of Commons next Wednesday 27th Feb.  The amendment (see below) calls for the Prime Minister to ask the EU to jointly agree  *as soon as possible* to adopt the citizens' rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement - whatever happens with Brexit.
Mr Costa has a lot of support from MPs already, cross party and across all wings of the Conservative party.  The3million and British in Europe are writing to every single MP to ask for their support - to increase the chances of the Speaker selecting this amendment next week.

However, it will make much more impact if MPs receive emails from their own constituents - so please write!

If you like, you can download and attach (or link to) this joint British in Europe / the3million letter:  https://bit.ly/BiE_t3m_Ringfencing_CostaAmendment


The amendment:

“This House considers the Prime Minister’s statement of 26th February and requires the Prime Minister to seek at the earliest opportunity a joint UK-EU commitment to adopt part two of the Withdrawal Agreement on Citizens Rights and ensure its implementation prior to the UK’s exiting the European Union, whatever the outcome of negotiations on other aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement”