Premier warned of no deal ‘dis­as­ter’

Cam­paign­ers de­liv­ered their let­ter to No10 Down­ing Street

Costa Levante News - - BREXIT NEWS -

By Jack Troughton UK PRIME Min­is­ter Theresa May was this week warned of ‘dis­as­trous’ and ‘far reach­ing con­se­quences’ for five mil­lion peo­ple should Bri­tain crash out of the Eu­ro­pean Union without a deal.

A let­ter to the premier hand-de­liv­ered to No10 Down­ing Street on Mon­day dur­ing a lobby of Par­lia­ment in Lon­don and calls for ur­gent steps to be taken to ‘do the right thing’ and pro­tect the rights of UK ci­ti­zens liv­ing in Europe and EU na­tion­als res­i­dent in Bri­tain. The let­ter was jointly penned by British in Europe, a coali­tion of ex­pat groups across the EU; the3mil­lion, rep­re­sent­ing Eu­ro­peans liv­ing in the UK; and the trade union UNI­SON.

It said the three cam­paign groups were ex­tremely con­cerned about the cur­rent state of Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions and the im­pli­ca­tions for the rights of ex­pats.

And it un­der­lined the fact these were five mil­lion peo­ple – not ‘bar­gain­ing chips’ – adding: “And it is time we were treated as such”.

The let­ter also un­der­lines the ‘shame’ in deny­ing over 60% of British ex­pats and ‘al­most all’ EU ci­ti­zens a vote in the 2016 ref­er­en­dum that re­turned the ‘leave’ ver­dict.

Be­gin­ning “Dear Prime Min­is­ter”, the let­ter reads: “Lit­tle progress was made at the Oc­to­ber Eu­ro­pean Coun­cil and there is now a very real threat of no deal. This will have dis­as­trous and wide-reach­ing con­se­quences for this group of ci­ti­zens on both sides of the chan­nel.

“We there­fore urge you to take steps now to re­move ci­ti­zens’ rights from the strait­jacket of ‘noth­ing is agreed un­til ev­ery­thing is agreed’.”

Mrs May was re­minded of her state­ment to the House of Com­mons in June 2017, when she said: “I am mak­ing (ci­ti­zens rights) an im­me­di­ate pri­or­ity at the be­gin­ning of ne­go­ti­a­tions. But that agree­ment must be re­cip­ro­cal be­cause we must pro­tect the rights of UK ci­ti­zens liv­ing in EU mem­ber states too.”

It was ac­cepted Mrs May had promised to uni­lat­er­ally pro­tect the rights of EU ci­ti­zens in the UK should there be a no deal but said this was not a com­pre­hen­sive so­lu­tion; British ci­ti­zens in the re­main­ing 27 coun­tries could be il­le­gal res­i­dents with no le­gal sta­tus on March 30 next year and de­pen­dent on the in­di­vid­ual so­lu­tions pro­vided by their host state, and key ar­eas of rights – in­clud­ing pen­sions, health­care, so­cial care – re­quired co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the UK and EU.

In­stead, the trio of groups called for both sides to hon­our the agree­ment reached un­der Ar­ti­cle 50 on ci­ti­zens’ rights ‘as a min­i­mum’ what­ever the out­come of Brexit.

“We urge you to ap­proach (EU ne­go­tia­tor) Michel Barnier and the EU27 mem­ber states and sug­gest com­mit­ting now to im­ple­ment­ing the ci­ti­zens’ rights part of the draft with­drawal agree­ment, even if it is the only as­pect to be agreed on,” they noted.

And it calls for the ac­cord to be strength­ened to give UK ex­pats free move­ment across the EU and EU ci­ti­zens a life­long right of re­turn to the UK – a pro­posal first put for­ward by Bri­tain in Septem­ber last year.

It is also asked that UK and EU ci­ti­zens can move back to their coun­try of ori­gin without do­mes­tic im­mi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion – there is also an is­sue over ‘ harsher rules’ – and this should be re­cip­ro­cated.

The let­ter de­scribes the loss of vot­ing rights as ‘one of the most un­demo­cratic and shame­ful as­pects of Brexit’ be­cause of peo­ple de­nied a ref­er­en­dum voice and asks for EU na­tion­als in the UK to be able to vote in lo­cal elec­tions and to push for sim­i­lar rights for Bri­tons across the EU.

Fur­ther, the let­ter states that where pro­ce­dures re­quire ci­ti­zens to regis­ter for a new sta­tus within the UK or EU were im­ple­mented ‘these should be sim­ple, clear, and free of charge’.

Mrs May was told: “In the UK, EU ci­ti­zens need com­plete le­gal cer­tainty from you on how the new set­tled sta­tus scheme will be im­ple­mented. The UK Gov­ern­ment has stated there will be no checks on health in­sur­ance or suf­fi­cient re­sources, but the with­drawal agree­ment does not pre­vent fu­ture gov­ern­ments or Home Of­fice im­mi­gra­tion rules from in­tro­duc­ing such checks.

“As a ges­ture of good­will, we are call­ing for you to en­sure your po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ments are made le­gally bind­ing at the EU/UK level and con­firmed by the UK Par­lia­ment.”

Mrs May was also asked to is­sue phys­i­cal proof of set­tled sta­tus to re­duce the risk of dis­crim­i­na­tion in peo­ple’s daily lives.

“As the Win­drush scan­dal has shown, peo­ple need doc­u­ments to ev­i­dence their rights in the UK within the frame­work of the hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment.”

Fi­nally, the let­ter stressed MPs should be re­minded ‘of their duty of care to EU con­stituents and British ci­ti­zens abroad’ and asked Mrs May ‘to hon­our the po­lit­i­cal prom­ises made to us, no mat­ter what the out­come of Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions’.

Ex­pats took the let­ter to No 10

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Spain

© PressReader. All rights reserved.