29th March 2017
EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living across the EU must be the first priority now the UK government has notified the European Commission of its intention to leave the European Union, the influential EU citizens task force has demanded.
The cross-party group of MEPs has also called on the UK and EU 27 to ring-fence the negotiations regarding citizens’ rights, so that people’s lives cannot be used as bargaining chips in any other part of the talks.
The task force has pointed out the various studies showing the economic harm that would befall the UK should a proportion of the three million EU citizens decide or be force to leave Britain.
Jean Lambert – Green MEP for London
“The refusal of the UK Government to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK is a shameful and callous way to treat people. Many of these people are in the UK for decades, they have contributed economically, socially and culturally to our country. They have families and caring responsibilities, they enrich their communities and in good faith have made Britain their home.
The stress and uncertainty they have been subjected to is mirrored by British citizens resident in other EU countries, who likewise have been left in limbo, not knowing if they will be told to return to the UK. It’s time Theresa May stops this game-playing with people’s lives and does the right thing.”
Seb Dance, Labour MEP for London:
“The message must be crystal clear – EU citizens that have chosen to live, work and contribute to the UK are welcome. Any uncertainty around the future of these people British citizens settled in the UK must be ended. It is unacceptable that people and families in the UK and across the EU have been left in limbo for such an extended period of time.”
Catherine Bearder, Lib Dem MEP
“The EU and the UK must come to an early arrangement on citizens’ rights and end the uncertainty for almost 5 million citizens across Europe.”
Sophie in t’Veld – D66 MEP
“The British government is cynically using EU citizens as a bargaining chip. These are people who have settled and built a life in the UK in good faith. They have set up a family, they got children and grandchildren, they have jobs, homes, businesses, they have family, inlaws, friends, colleagues, neighbours. They are over 3 million people who have contributed to the UK, who have been loyal members of the community. But Mrs May is using them as canon fodder. That is not a matter of different political views, but of an attitude to people, of ice cold calculation.
But the European Parliament cross party alliance will stand firm for the rights of EU citizens, as well as for UK citizens in the EU.”
Claude Moraes, Labour MEP for London:
“With the triggering of Article 50, we want the rights of millions of EU citizens living in the UK, and UK citizens living in Europe, to be protected as a priority. The rights of EU citizens and UK citizens, people who have been contributing loyally to the country they have been living in for many years, must be guaranteed as a matter of urgency.”
Beatriz Becerra – ALDE MEP
“This is not the time to break things. This is the time to fix them. Equity, reciprocity, and non-discrimination must be ensured for all EU nationals for as long as Britain remains a member of the European Union. Decades of courageous statesmanship are at stake, and this matters to all our futures”