UK Political Parties Urged to State Positions on Citizens’ Rights
Letters delivered to all main parties to urge clarification and ring-fencing of rights
May 22, 2017, Valencia, Spain. Press Dispensary. Bremain in Spain ( http://www.bremaininspain.com ), a group campaigning for the rights of British citizens in Spain, is one of 11 members of British in Europe, the largest coalition of UK citizens' groups across the EU. Last week, the coalition wrote letters to the leaders of the UK's main political parties. Delivered in the prelude to the General Election, these letters asked party leaders to state their position on citizens' rights post-Brexit. They requested that party leaders adopt one core principle: that individuals should not be affected retrospectively by Brexit.
Jane Golding, acting chair of British in Europe, included the following in the letters: "On 29 April, the EU stated in clear and concrete terms its 'offer' in the negotiations. The British people are, therefore, entitled to be advised in equally clear terms, by each British political party standing for election, what response it proposes to this offer."
Mirroring the concerns of EU citizens in the UK, hundreds of thousands of UK citizens based in the EU are concerned what might happen in the event of a "no deal". The EU has stated that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed". British in Europe is urging politicians to ring-fence the rights of affected citizens so that these rights would survive in the event of no deal.
Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain, a member of the coalition, said: "Both the UK government and the EU have, for weeks, been saying that citizens are their number one priority in the Brexit negotiations. The EU has specifically stated that the rights of all EU citizens, including Brits in Europe, must be protected for their lifetimes - it is a red line for them. The stumbling block for the British government appears to be accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, which the EU says is essential for the protection of its citizens."
She continues: "After seeing the Tory manifesto, we're concerned that there's barely any reference to Brits in the EU - just a bland statement re 'secure the entitlements of EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in EU'. We hear repeatedly about the 'best possible deal', which implies it won't be as good as the deal we currently have as members of the EU. Instead of woolly statements, we deserve straight answers to avoid us living in stress and uncertainty."
She concludes: "Our group represents many UK pensioners who live in the EU. Now, on top of the ongoing situation re citizens' rights, we are seeing the proposed downgrading of the triple lock on pensions to a double lock and the prospect of the elderly being required to use equity from their homes to pay for social care. The clear result will be many worried pensioners - not just in the EU, but in the UK as well. Is May so confident of a landslide victory that she can afford to alienate one of the largest demographics that helped place the Tories in government?"
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Notes for editors
For further information please contact
Sue Wilson, Chair
Tel: + 34 696 056 328
Deputy Press Officer
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