Members of the European Parliament from across the EU have joined forces to send a strong message about the rights of UK citizens. Led by Labour NW England MEP, Julie Ward, MEPs have sent a letter to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, calling for an end to citizens being used as bargaining chips in Brexit negotiations.
Since the UK referendum, EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in other EU countries have experienced feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and distress about their own and their families’ situation.
New Europeans and other civil society organisations are a strong, growing voice working to highlight the deep concerns of UK citizens. EU citizenship rights, including the right to remain in the country of residence and retaining the right to a private and family life, are under threat, despite being enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Julie Ward MEP said:
“UK citizens living in the EU are currently being used as pawns in Brexit negotiations, which is unacceptable. Individuals and families who have made their homes in other EU countries are being left in a cruel limbo whilst the negotiators spar back and forth.
The EU is the world leader on human rights so it needs to put its head above the parapet and guarantee the unilateral recognition of the rights of UK citizens living in other EU countries.”
Roger Casale, CEO and founder of New Europeans, said:
“British citizens resident in the EU are not UK expats they are EU citizens. We respectfully ask the EU to guarantee their rights unilaterally, because if they do not, it may represent a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
We join with the EU in its determination to defend all the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK by whatever means possible. We reject the idea that this can be achieved by leaving the 1.6 million UK citizens in the EU in limbo, and we therefore ask for a decision on their future to be taken separately from the negotiations.”