lunes, 27 de noviembre de 2017

Time to lobby MEPs to protect our rights

What is happening soon? In the next EU Council meeting on 14-15 December, the decision will be taken as to whether sufficient progress has been made in Phase 1 of the negotiations in order to move on to Phase 2. Phase 1 includes Ireland, the financial settlement, and – of course – citizens’ rights. British in Europe is clear that as things stand, there is still a good way to go before our rights can be said to be fully protected.

Why is this important? If the European Commission recommends a ‘sufficient progress’ decision – and there are currently political moves afoot on both sides to make this happen – we fear that there is a risk of a political stitch-up, where progress falling well short of protecting our rights is certified by the EU to be “sufficient” just so that the sides can move on to discussing trade. It’s more vital than ever that the European Parliament holds the line over the next three weeks.

What is required? We urgently need to recruit MEPs across the EU27 as our allies, which means we need to help them to understand what’s at stake and the very real risks we face of losing rights that are essential to our ability to ‘live our lives as before’. On 20 November the British in Europe steering team wrote to every MEP – 751 of them! – setting out the issues; now it’s time for everyone to do the same. All the resources you need to take part in this campaign are attached.

How can you participate?  Write to the MEPs who represent Spain. You can also write to the MEP in the UK, depending on the region which is more relevant to you.   See templates of letters (in Spanish and English) below. you can either copy into or attach to your emails or tweets. 

You can find the names and contact details of MEPs here:

Make your voice heard, and make it heard now! Let MEPs know that British people in Europe are not prepared to have their citizenship rights thrown under the Brexit bus.

Template for letter to UK MEPs.

Please adjust the bits in square brackets in the first paragraph to fit your own circumstances.
Add where you are registered to vote in the UK.
If no longer able to vote, add the place where you last voted.

[Sender’s address]

[Addressee]                                                                                                            [Date]


I am a British citizen who has lived in [town/province/region] for [number] years.  I am writing to appeal to you as one of my MEPs.  It is now 18 months since the Brexit referendum [in which I had no right to vote as the legislation authorising the referendum denied the right to vote to those who had lived abroad for over 15 years].  Despite promises by both Mr. Barnier and Mrs. May that securing our rights as citizens would be a top priority and that Brexit would not affect our daily lives, no agreement has been reached on our rights, leaving us in limbo and constant anxiety as to our future.   [My family and] I remain fearful about what will happen to [me/us] and unable to plan for the future.

I understand that although there has been some agreement during the negotiations on aspects of Citizens’ Rights, there are many issues that are extremely important to British people like me on which there is no agreement.  The negotiations are now at a critical stage and the European Council has to decide in mid-December whether “sufficient progress” has been made on, among other things, Citizens’ Rights.  It is crucial that the Council does not confirm ‘sufficient progress’ simply so that talks move on to the next phase if there is in fact no agreement on all fundamental issues on citizens’ rights.  If that were to happen we would literally become ‘bargaining chips’ with critical elements of our rights being bartered by M. Barnier and Mr. Davis against future trade relationships.

I therefore urge you as one of my elected representatives in the European Parliament to do all within your power to see that the rights I mention below are safeguarded and that there is no artificial finding of “sufficient progress” if they are not.

British in Europe, the coalition of groups of UK citizens living in Europe has written to you spelling out the big issues which are still outstanding.  As one of the millions of citizens directly affected, I would like to support what they have said, and urge you to support our claim to:
·         Continuation of our right to family reunification, so that families are not divided by Brexit;
·         Continuation of our right to freedom of movement throughout the EU27, vital to so many UK citizens who came to Europe to work;
·         Relaxation of the rule that will deprive us of the right to return to our homes after Brexit if we have to leave them for two years or more (“the two year rule”);
·         Acceptance by the EU of the UK offer to lift the two year rule for EU citizens in the UK in exchange for freedom of movement for UK citizens in the EU.  This has not yet been accepted by the EU negotiators despite being in the evident interest of their own citizens.
·         The continuation of full recognition of all professional qualifications throughout the EU27 and in the UK, vital for so many who work;
·         Continuation of existing cross-border working and other economic rights throughout the EU27 for those who are exercising them at the moment;
·         Continuation of our existing rights to vote in EU and local elections.
·         Ring-fencing any agreement that is made so that the progress which has been made on matters like securing residence rights, health-care, pensions etc. is not lost.

Please do all that you can to see that we, the British citizens who left the UK to embrace the European ideal, and the EU citizens who moved to the UK in the same spirit, are protected against the consequences of a referendum in which the majority of us had no vote.  It is vital that both sides in the negotiations live up to their promises that Brexit should not affect our daily lives.

Yours sincerely,

Template for letter to Eurodiputados/as

Please adjust the bits in square brackets in the first paragraph to fit your own circumstances.

[sender address]

[addressee]                                                                                                            [date]

Estimado [Estimada – for female addressees]

Soy [un ciudadano británico] [una ciudadana británica] que ha vivido en [town /province /region] durante [number of years] años. Me dirijo a usted para hacer un llamamiento, como uno [una – for female addressees] de mis eurodiputados. Han pasado 18 meses desde el referéndum del Brexit [in which I had no right to vote as the legislation authorising the referendum denied the right to vote to those who had lived abroad for over 15 years = en el cual yo no tuve derecho a voto debido a que la legislación que autorizaba el referéndum negaba el derecho al voto a quienes habían vivido fuera del Reino Unido por más de 15 años]. A pesar de las promesas del Sr. Barnier y la Sra. May de que garantizar nuestros derechos como ciudadanos sería una prioridad y que el Brexit no afectaría nuestras vidas cotidianas, no se ha llegado a un acuerdo sobre nuestros derechos, dejándonos en el limbo y con una ansiedad constante sobre nuestro futuro. [My family and I feel = Mi familia y yo sentimos] [I feel = Siento] temor por lo que sucederá [with me - conmigo y no puedo][with us - con nosotros y no podemos] planificar {mi] nuestro futuro.

Entiendo que, aunque ha habido algún acuerdo durante las negociaciones sobre aspectos de los derechos de los ciudadanos, hay muchos asuntos que son extremadamente importantes para los británicos como yo sobre los que no hay acuerdo. Las negociaciones se encuentran ahora en una etapa crítica y el Consejo de Europa debe decidir a mediados de diciembre si se han logrado "avances suficientes" en, entre otros aspectos, los derechos de los ciudadanos. Es imprescindible que el Consejo no confirme unos "avances suficientes" solo para que las conversaciones pasen a la siguiente fase, si de hecho no hay un acuerdo sobre todas las cuestiones fundamentales sobre los derechos de los ciudadanos. Si eso ocurriera, nos convertiríamos literalmente en "bazas de negociación," con elementos fundamentales de nuestros derechos negociables por el Sr. Barnier y el Sr. Davis a cambio de futuras relaciones comerciales.

Por lo tanto, le insto a usted, como uno de mis representantes elegidos en el Parlamento Europeo, a hacer todo lo que esté en su mano para garantizar que los derechos que menciono a continuación estén protegidos y que no haya ninguna declaración de ficticios "avances suficientes" si estos no existen en realidad.

British in Europe (Británicos en Europa), la coalición de grupos de ciudadanos del Reino Unido que 
viven en Europa, les ha escrito explicando los grandes problemas todavía pendientes de resolver. 
Como uno de los millones de ciudadanos directamente afectados, apoyo lo que han dicho e insto a que
usted apoye nuestra reclamación de:
• Continuidad de nuestro derecho a la reunificación familiar, para que el Brexit no divida a las familias;
• Continuidad de nuestro derecho a libertad de circulación en toda la UE-27; fundamental para tantos
 ciudadanos británicos que trabajan en Europa;
• Flexibilizar la disposición que nos privaría del derecho a regresar a nuestros hogares después del Brexit, 
si tuviéramos que dejarlos durante dos o más años ("la disposición de los dos años");
• La aceptación por parte de la UE de la propuesta del Reino Unido de anular la disposición de los dos años
 para los ciudadanos de la UE en el Reino Unido a cambio de la libertad de circulación para los ciudadanos del
 Reino Unido en la UE. Esto aún no ha sido aceptado por los negociadores de la UE a pesar de ser, 
evidentemente, de interés para sus propios ciudadanos.
• Continuidad del pleno reconocimiento de todas las titulaciones profesionales en toda la UE27 y en el
 Reino Unido, que es fundamental para tantos trabajadores;
• Continuidad del trabajo transfronterizo y otros derechos económicos vigentes en toda la UE27 para 
quienes los ejercen en la actualidad;
• Continuidad de nuestros actuales derechos de voto en elecciones locales municipales y al Parlamento
Garantizar cualquier acuerdo que se alcance para que no se pierdan  progresos logrados en asuntos 
como preservar derechos de residencia, atención sanitaria, pensiones, etc.
Ruego haga todo lo posible para asegurar que nosotros, los ciudadanos británicos que salimos del
Reino Unido para acoger el ideal europeo, y los ciudadanos de la UE que se mudaron al Reino Unido
con el mismo espíritu, estén protegidos contra las consecuencias de un referéndum en el cual la mayoría 
de nosotros no tuvimos voto. Es fundamental que ambas partes en las negociaciones cumplan sus 
promesas de que el Brexit no afecte nuestra vida cotidiana.

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