Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Citizenship - and the loss of Rights

Today many European Citizens - {that includes citizens of ALL current EU member states - including, for the next few days, citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland} will be sending a letter to key players within the institutions of the European Union. I am one of them - and the email I sent is reproduced below.


Dear EU colleagues and friends,

We write to you at our lowest point since the referendum of 2016. After over  three years of fighting to remain we unfortunately now know that we will be entering the transition period on 31st January 2020.
To be clear, this is not the will of the people. Indeed more votes were cast in favour of remain parties in the recent general election than were for the conservatives, especially so by our younger age groups of voters.
Only our voting system enabled a Johnson majority; this is something that we must work towards changing.
We do not want to leave the EU and we will continue to mount a sustained resistance to this for as long as it takes. Further, we will look to rejoin the EU at the earliest opportunity.
Having made those points, we write to you today to seek your patience, understanding and your guidance on the following points.
Please consider each in isolation, we are not asking for an either/or.
1) EU citizenship
Group members have asked if it would be possible to individually subscribe to an EU membership. Paying an annual fee much in the same way that the UK does now but with the individuals actually paying rather than the UK government paying. This subscription would be for ongoing freedom of movement and things like medical support etc.
We can see legally there may be some difficulties to overcome with this approach but we wanted to stimulate some thought and debate on this within the EU. Would the 27 be open to exploring this idea and possible scenarios with us?
2) EU Residency - does already exist but with time restrictions for the member country
We wanted to ask that for those UK nationals already working or living in the 27 countries that EU residency should be automatically applied to them in their country of residence on 1st February 2020. They are the people most immediately affected by the withdrawal and their loss would also impact negatively on many of the economies of our 27 EU friends were they to be forced to leave.
This second point does not unfortunately help those UK citizens in the UK that voted to remain but it will give certainty and relief to those genuinely at risk in the other 27 countries and remove the time restriction for applying for permanent residency for those already living in the 27 member states.
The application to UK nationals of the EU residency in such a dramatic and humanitarian way would also help apply pressure directly onto the Johnson government to reciprocate for EU citizens living in the UK.
The Withdrawal Agreement Bill does NOT allow for this and the amendment that would have provided for it was defeated this very week in the House of Commons.
The Johnson government demonstrated their worst qualities during that vote and during the vote on unaccompanied child migrants.
We believe that the EU 27 granting a general residency as desribed would also very much help to refocus on the EU citizens residency topic within the UK itself.
Safeguarding the EU citizens’ rights in the UK is also of paramount importance to us, we are without doubt in this together and we will remain so.
We believe the UK government would find it difficult to ignore or argue against such a proposal if a unilateral gesture had been already made by the remaining 27.
Our groups would lobby strongly for this to be applied to EU citizens also.
This email comes from our fledgling BRB EU Group and from the 48% Group and others.
We ask that you read it, consider our requests in a positive way and provide us with constructive feedback on how to work with you to enable progress.
To enable a clear line of communication we respectfully request that when you reply to the please also copy to following group admin email address.
Kind regards and thanks


Similar letters are being sent to -

I would encourage you, if you feel the same way, to send a similar email. Normally individuals are only stripped of their citizenship for a serious crime. At the end of this month there will be an unprecedented "bonfire of rights" - it will take away citizenship of the EU from British citizens - and diminish the rights of those who have chosen to come to Britain and settle here. 

For more on the rights of European Citizenship see - Rights of EU Citizens