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Open letter to Theresa May in response to her Christmas message to Brits in EU

2017-12-19
from Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain


December 19, 2017, Valencia, Spain. Press Dispensary. Dear Theresa,

I'm sure you won't mind me calling you by your first name, as you always use mine when you write to me. I’ve just read your Christmas message to "expats" in the local Spanish press and was rather disappointed that you didn't write to me directly.

I appreciate the update regarding the negotiations on citizens' rights  - although, to be honest, I didn't learn anything new and I must raise a number of points where we don't see eye-to-eye.

Firstly, please stop the pretence that Brits in the EU have been your first priority from the very beginning and, incidentally, we do not refer to ourselves as "expats". We are immigrants, no different or better than any other EU citizen that has chosen to live in another EU country. Had you really wanted to protect us, you would have accepted the EU's initial offer on citizens' rights. Instead, in an effort to remove rights and freedoms from EU citizens in the UK, you came back with a significantly inferior offer, which resulted in a downgrading of the EU offer.

You may well be delighted with your "achievements" but if you had been listening to us, you would know we’re not equally “delighted” because what’s currently on the table is less than we have now. We moved to the EU in good faith and made life-changing decisions based on what we thought were known facts. Add to that the anger and frustration of a million Brits overseas who cannot vote and perhaps you'll understand why we’re not celebrating our good fortune.

Your letter rightly points out that a few important citizens' rights issues are yet to be concluded but incorrectly suggests we should all be reassured. I can assure you we are not! Even if the agreement stated that we would maintain all our rights and freedoms as they exist, this would still be meaningless without some assurances that any citizens' rights agreement is protected. Unless we have that protection, we will continue to be bargaining chips, except now the stakes are higher and the focus will be elsewhere – such as on trade talks.
In the spirit of Christmas, I hope you enjoy the festivities but I also hope you’ll take this opportunity to appreciate that hundreds of thousands of Brits in the EU are today as anxious and fearful about their futures as they were on 24 June, 2016. It's going to take more than a few repetitive soundbites to change that situation.

- ends -

Notes for editors
Bremain in Spain is a group campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living and working in Spain. Run by volunteers, the group is chaired by Sue Wilson, who is a member of the Steering Committee of British in Europe - the coalition of 10 UK citizens' groups throughout the EU. Bremain in Spain is passionate about protecting the rights of EU citizens who have chosen to live in another EU country and believes the best way to achieve this aim is by the UK remaining a member of the EU.  Bremain in Spain is also partnered with Britain for Europe and European Movement.

The original letter from Theresa May is here:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/road-to-brexit/prime-minister-theresa-mays-message-to-uk-nationals-living-in-europe/348405625623654/

For further information please contact
Sue Wilson, Chair
Bremain in Spain
Email:

James Gambrill
Media Liaison Officer
Email:
Tel: + 34 622 664 547

Jo Chipchase
Press Officer
Email:
Tel: + 34 696 056 328

Site: www.bremaininspain.com
Facebook: Bremain in Spain
Twitter: @BremainInSpain

Media contacts

Sue Wilson, Chair
Email:

James Gambrill
Media Liaison Officer
Email:
Tel: + 34 622 664 547

Jo Chipchase
Press Officer
Email:
Tel: + 34 696 056 328

Site: www.bremaininspain.com
Facebook: Bremain in Spain
Twitter: @BremainInSpain

Keywords/tags
bremain in spain brexit sue wilson citizens rights british citizens in uk freedom of movement european union eu uk politics uk government theresa may