MEPs to hold hearing on rights of Britons abroad in EU and EU citizens in the UK

Sophia in ‘t Veld
Sophie in 't Veld set up the 'EU Citizens Taskforce' - a group of MEPs with a particular interest in expat rights

A HEARING is to be held at the European Parliament on Thursday May 11 (from 15.00 to 18.30) on the difficulties facing Britons abroad in the EU and citizens of other EU countries living in the UK, due to Brexit.

The hearing, which will be live on video on the internet, is being organised by a ‘taskforce’ of MEPs from Britain and several other countries, which has been focusing particularly on difficulties that people have faced in obtaining residence cards or nationality of their countries of residence.

There has reportedly been an upsurge of interest in these procedures – both of which are optional to EU citizens living in the EU – as people seek to bolster their rights.

Notably, Britons who have lived in France for five years on a legal, permanent basis, are entitled to have a carte de séjour ‘citoyen EU/UEE/Suisse’ séjour permanent. However many readers have reported problems such as being denied ‘permanent’ cards and given short-term ones instead or being told they will have to wait until the Brexit negotiations have taken place.

At the same time EU citizens in the UK are facing high rates of refusals for ‘permanent’ cards and hurdles such as having to complete a complex 85-page form and people such as early-retirees and housewives have been told they should have taken out private health insurance policies.

Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld told Connexion Britons “being denied permanent residence cards ‘because of the Brexit negotiations’ is, of course, utter nonsense” and she will prepare a written parliamentary question on this for the EU parliament after the Easter break.

In the meantime Ms in ‘t Veld and her taskforce colleagues are preparing for a first hearing at the parliament, which is being organised jointly by three parliamentary committees: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs; Employment and Social Affairs; and Petitions.

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Speakers with knowledge of the problems expats are facing are being invited. Ms in ‘t Veld said that initially the committee chairs had wanted to focus on inviting people related to the situation of EU expats in the UK, ‘for logistical reasons’, however she is insisting someone be invited “to cover the situation of UK citizens in the EU”. It is also possible there may be an additional event the night before, she said, though this has yet to be finalised.

She added: “You can rest assured the situation of British people in EU countries will be raised equally, I can guarantee you I will raise it personally. We do not forget our British friends. You are EU citizens like anyone else and we will make your case during the hearing as well as in the context of all other initiatives.”

If you have faced problems already due to Brexit, as a British person in France, let us know at connexionfrance.com (unless you have already emailed about the issue before).

You can also sign up for updates from the taskforce by sending an email simply saying ‘yes’ to eucitizenstaskforce@gmail.com

The MEP taskforce includes:

Sophie in ‘t Veld – Dutch, ALDE liberals and democrats group in the parliament

Catherine Bearder – British, ALDE (Lib Dem)

Seb Dance – British, S&D socialists and democrats group (Labour)

Jean Lambert – British, Green

Beatriz Becerra – Spanish, ALDE

Cecilia Wilström – Swedish, ALDE

Claude Moraes – British, S&D (Labour) 

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