Group seeks support for bid to protect Britons' rights

The EU is being asked to step in to help Britons living abroad in Europe

A civil rights group is calling on people to sign a letter to EU's chief negotiator asking the EU to guarantee the rights of Britons abroad in the EU after Brexit, whether or not there is a deal.

It comes as the UK has confirmed that its ‘settled status’ – its term for the residency status that EU citizens living in the UK before Brexit would have under the Brexit deal – will be operative even if the UK leaves with no deal. 'Settled status' was put into domestic UK law earlier this summer.

New Europeans, a group promoting free movement, non-discrimination and solidarity in Europe, says it would have wished the EU to make the first move on such an issue – at present Britons abroad in the EU have no guarantees that their rights would remain without a deal.

The group says in the letter to negotiator Michel Barnier: “The EU cannot allow itself to get into the position where it stands back and allows the rights of 1.5m and more of its own citizens be stripped of their citizenship rights, through no fault of their own and as a result of a referendum which now appears to have been manipulated by illegal interference and conditioned by lies.

“We want a European Union we can be proud of.

“That means a statement confirming that the EU will grant guarantees unilaterally to 1.5m British citizens in the EU, parallel to the one Theresa May made (at long last)​.”

People can add their signatures in support of the statement at this link.

New Europeans was founded in London but is now based in Brussels and has just been announced as winner of the Schwarzkopf Europe Award 2019, a prize for people or bodies who have given service to European understanding.

The group also heads the #EUGreenCard campaign, which proposes that the EU should issue a European ‘green card’ to anyone who has obtained permanent EU residency (or the UK settled status) and which would guarantee EU free movement regardless of whether their country remains in the EU or not. This would help Britons in France maintain the future right to live and work in other EU states (which is not currently included in the draft EU-UK withdrawal deal).

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