A group of EU parliamentarians wrote a letter to the British Prime Minister about EU citizens in the UK. They called on Theresa May to ensure the 3 million EU nationals living in Britain receive the “decent and humane treatment they deserve.”
In relation to the UK decision to leave the European Union, the letter “acknowledges the right of the British people to decide on their own future.” But it also reminds that the vote affects millions who did not have a say and now face “intense insecurity.”
Many of these three million have been living in the UK for years or decades. They have fallen in love and married in the UK, they have children and sometimes grandchildren in the UK, some have adopted children in the UK. They study and work in the UK, or they have set up a business in the UK. They worked and retired in the UK, and they may be enjoying old age, sometimes in good health, sometimes frail. They have grown roots in the UK. Through their children, they have an inseparable bond with Britain.
Many are applying for permanent residence or citizenship to secure their future in the country after Brexit. However, the letter notes that the procedure can be a nightmare. It is expensive and cumbersome, information is scarce and “in some cases not in line with EU law.”
MEPs say they received “countless messages” with heartbreaking stories, in some cases showing a hostile attitude from public authorities. The text mentions parents fearful of being separated from their children, elderly people in bad health threatened with expulsion, small business owners at risk of losing everything and people who could not get a job or a mortgage loan because of their insecure situation. “It almost seems as though the aim is to make as many people as possible leave the country,” MEPs conclude.
The group reminded that the three million EU citizens in the UK are “valuable members of British society” and, like all other UK citizens, are affected by the decisions made by the government.
EU parliamentarians therefore called on Theresa May to “reciprocate the dedication” of EU nationals in Britain, ensure their rights as EU citizens are fully respected and help them continue to live their lives without unnecessary disruption.
The letter was signed by Sophie in ‘t Veld, deputy leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats at the European parliament. The Dutch MEP has recently created a cross-party task force to examine how EU citizens in the UK are being treated, reported The Guardian. Other signatories are Catherine Bearder (UK) and Cecilia Wikström (Sweden), also from the ALDE group; Jean Lambert (UK) and Yannick Jadot (France) of the Greens; Seb Dance and Claude Moraes (UK), Sylvie Guillaume (France), Brando Benifei (Italy) and István Ujhelyi (Hungary) for the Socialists and Democrats.
In the letter, MEPs commit to equally represent the interests of British citizens living in other EU countries.
Claudia Delpero © all rights reserved.
Photo: Sophie in ‘t Veld © European Union 2016 – Source : EP.