jueves, 25 de octubre de 2018
EuroCitizens is encouraging members, together with their friends, family and sympathisers, to join in The Last Mile Westminster Lobby on November 5th. This is being jointly organised by British in Europe, the 3million and other organisations. We are campaigning for the UK government and the EU to commit to ring-fencing and implementing the citizens’ rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement under Article 50 – no matter what the outcome on Brexit – as well as strengthening the accord to maintain our freedom of movement in the EU.
If you can attend the lobby with us in Westminster, you will need to register here https://britishineurope.org/westminsterlobby/ Most of us will be taking part in the e-lobby of MPs – see the full details below.
Remember, we are only five months away from Brexit and nothing has been agreed. There is an increasing risk of a no-deal scenario - which means that we all may become illegal immigrants overnight and have to apply for third-country national status just to stay in Spain. The situation is getting very serious and we need your help to make this e-lobby HUGE. After the enormous success of the March for a People's Vote last Saturday we need to put all the pressure we can on MPs to support our demands.
Please join with us and stand up as one of the five million.
See below instructions for the e-lobby and the template of a letter to send to your MP.
viernes, 5 de octubre de 2018
‘No more glib assurances’ says DExEU minister Robin Walker after meeting Citizens’ Rights campaigners in Madrid
|Robin Walker in Madrid yesterday with Ambassador Manley|
On Thursday 4 October, representatives from Spanish citizens’ rights groups (Bremain in Spain, Brexpats Spain, ECREU and EuroCitizens) met British embassy officials and DExEU minister Robin Walker. During the morning session we were given an update on healthcare, registration and consular back-up by different members of the FCO team. This was followed by an hour-long meeting with the minister. The exchange of views took place in a cordial atmosphere, with the minister giving a positive hearing to the points raised.
Mr Walker recognised that the current Withdrawal Agreement, whilst covering important areas such as healthcare and host country residence, did not include key rights such as the freedom of movement for Britons within the EU-27 and related issues like cross-border service provision. The minister said that this matter had been left for the negotiations about the future EU/UK relationship; we strongly criticised this position, stressing that the 1.2 million Britons in Europe are a finite group of people who have already exercised our freedom of movement rights within the EU-27. We drew Mr Walker’s attention to the European Parliament’s red lines and their suggestion that the EU might accept the keeping of our current freedom of movement in exchange for a lifetime right of return for EUinUK citizens. We also mooted that the UK should seek a standstill position to cover freedom of movement and associated economic rights throughout the negotiations, should this exceed the transition period.
Whilst the Withdrawal Agreement does not cover political rights, which are the competence of member states, Robin Walker gave some very positive news regarding Spain. He said that discussions between the two governments about future bilateral arrangements on political rights, enabling Spaniards in the UK and Britons in Spain to stand and vote in local elections, are at an advanced stage and should be concluded soon.
The minister remained confident that a deal was still possible at the October European Council summit, but citizens’ groups underlined the huge risks for British migrants in Spain of a no-deal scenario as it would entail massive future uncertainty and the immediate loss of many of our EU citizenship rights as we would immediately fall under Third Country National and national legislation. The minister gave an assurance that HMG had embarked on no-deal contingency planning and mentioned the UK’s unilateral assurances to EUinUK citizens. We pointed out that no technical note regarding UKinEU had been published and that any unilateral guarantees by the UK government were insufficient without reciprocal agreement. The representatives of all four groups were united in their demand for the urgent ring-fencing of Citizens’ Rights from other aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement.
We then brought up issues falling within the sole grant of the British government, such as automatic uprating of UK pensions for Britons in the EU, which we were told had already been agreed on. We pointed out that family reunification rights for UK returnees with EU spouses and family were vital and highlighted the issue of home university fees for UKinEU citizens, guaranteed until 2020 but no further. Mr Walker took note of both issues.
Representatives of the groups stressed that the current situation was one of negotiating degrees of loss, given that the EU status quo was far superior to anything that could be obtained in the context of Brexit, let alone in a no-deal scenario. When we raised the issue of votes for life for UKinEU, the minister was personally sympathetic but could give no specific guarantees.
Whilst thanking the minister for meeting us, we roundly criticised HMG’s failure to engage with us more fully at an earlier stage and for ignoring British in Europe's repeated requests for meetings with the DExEU Secretary of State and with Theresa May. We also commented on the PM’s failure to even mention us in recent key prime ministerial speeches. On the topic of UK government messaging, after hearing our criticisms of government spin, Mr Walker admitted that it was not enough to produce glib and general statements in an attempt to reassure Britons in the EU-27 and that citizens needed specific information about how changes might affect their lives.