LATEST SUPPORTERS BULLETIN
Retaining European Citizenship Update
Mrs May in Florence
Theresa May’s trip to Florence received a qualified welcome from the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier. Whilst recognising the speech showed a ‘willingness to move forward’, Barnier’s response immediately reiterated the priorities of the EU in relation to the rights of EU citizens. He said: ‘Prime Minister May's statements are a step forward but they must now be translated into a precise negotiating position of the UK government.’ So as the latest round of negotiations commence we will see whether firm and acceptable commitments to the rights of EU citizens materialise.
See this report from Europe Street News for more detail.
Labour Conference and Brexit
In response to more recent developments and ongoing issues not due to be discussed elsewhere, a number of ‘contemporary motions’ were submitted to Labour’s annual conference on the theme of Brexit. Amongst these was the TSSA’s important call for a defence of Free Movement and an extension of rights and protections to all workers (seehere for more information). The TSSA’s motion called specifically to ‘Leave all options open on our future relationship with the EU’.
Unfortunately, conference delegates chose not to prioritise the set of motions dealing with Brexit. This means that whilst there has been a debate this morning about Brexit, no specific policies or proposals will be considered.
Those of us concerned with protecting the rights of all European citizens and preventing the worst outcomes of Brexit from materialising will be disappointed by this decision. It’s all the more disappointing because Labour’s front-bench team have made great strides in exposing the government’s plans for Brexit and in holding them to account. Much of the credit for this shift in emphasis must be given to Manuel Cortes of the TSSA and the Labour Campaign for Free Movement. We hope to continue working with the TSSA, LCFM and others to ensure that the rights of all EU citizens are defended and upheld.
An invitation to debate…
Standing Up for Our Rights: European Citizens’ Gathering
The European Citizens’ Gathering in Nottingham on 18 November will be an important opportunity to discuss, debate, decide and plan the next steps in the campaign to defend and uphold European citizenship.
We will be joined by researchers, politicians, writers, campaigners and – most importantly – you for a day of workshops ranging over the full spectrum of concerns about our rights as European citizens.
We encourage you to book early and encourage others to do so. For more information and to book a ticket, click here.
In Limbo: Brexit Testimonies in the UK, edited by Elena Remigi, is essential reading to understanding what is happening to European citizens in the UK. Elena will be speaking at the gathering and the book can be purchased here.
Issue 136 of The Spokesman (journal of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation) is titled 'European Citizen'. It can be purchased here.
RETAINING EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP UPDATE – 15/06/17
Have you endorsed the initiative? Have you asked others? Please follow this link, share on social media and encourage others to do so: https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/31/public/index.do
YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!
Many of us feared the worst from the general election but thanks to a magnificent turnout amongst young people, the road to a ‘Hard Brexit’ now has been blocked. Mrs May invited voters to “strengthen” her hand in the upcoming Brexit negotiations and they refused to do so. Although she remains Prime Minister, Mrs May’s government and her plans are mortally wounded.
WE MUST DEFEND EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP
Over the past few days we have received messages from new subscribers to our email list. The following stood out:
"My national identity is deeply important to me; both personally since I am proud to be a European, but also for the sake of all our people, young and old whose rights to live, work, retire and travel freely within the EU, I strongly want to protect and defend." Sue
"As a Briton, who believes in Europe, and has a life which spans this continent, I cannot give up my European citizenship without a fight. I'd like to know how this initiative progresses, for my rights, my fellow Britons and all Europeans." Samuel
This initiative aims to protect people from being used as bargaining chips so that they can live in peace, security, freedom and dignity as is their right through citizenship of the European Union.
The first anniversary of the Referendum will soon be upon us and the formal Brexit negotiations are due to start next week. We aim to make a big push via social media to promote the ‘Retaining European Citizenship’ initiative to coincide with these dates.
Our friends at ‘Another Europe is Possible’ (www.anothereurope.org/) have done a brilliant job at promoting the initiative by these means and we will do everything we can to expand their efforts.
For this to happen, we need to raise funds. Many thanks to all those who have already made a donation and to those who haven’t we say: every little helps!
You can make a donation via: http://paypal.me/eucitizen2017
MEETINGS AND GATHERINGS
We are in the process of organising a small number of public events where people can hear from those who have been involved in organising the initiative to date, but perhaps more importantly to hear from EU citizens about the real consequences of Brexit. The first of these meetings will be in Nottingham – more details to follow – but if you would like to arrange your own meeting to discuss and promote ‘Retaining European Citizenship’ please get in touch.
Tony Simpson, one of the two main representatives of ‘Retaining European Citizenship’ is the editor of The Spokesman, journal of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation. Issue 136, titled ‘European Citizen’, focuses on the issue surrounding Brexit, Europe and the concept of European Citizenship. ‘European Citizen’ will be published very soon and you can pre-order it via: http://spokesmanbookshop.com/European-Citizen-The-Spokesman-136
‘Retaining European Citizenship’ is now live and the process of collecting 1,000,000 endorsements has begun.
Supporters can now sign up via https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/31/public/index.do
We received notification of this development late in the day last Thursday after teams in Luxembourg and Brussels put in a big effort to get the online system up and running before a public holiday. We thank them for their efforts and thank you, our supporters, for the work already done and for the assistance we hope you will give in coming months.
Why this initiative is vital
Several million European citizens face real and deep uncertainty because of Brexit. UK nationals face the prospect of having their European citizenship stripped away, and European citizens in the UK are threatened with their rights being downgraded to ‘entitlements’ by the current government. Whatever the outcome of the UK general election, it will be necessary to seek a clear decision on the fate of current citizens and their citizenship rights, wherever they live within the EU. This is the primary purpose of the initiative.
‘Retaining European Citizenship’ is not ‘another petition’ but uses the European Citizens’ Initiative framework that allows citizens to democratically participate in proposing legislation. It may be necessary to explain this difference to some potential supporters and the following article – written by our colleagues at ‘Flock Brexit’ – will help with this: https://medium.com/flockbrexit/basics-of-a-european-citizens-initiative-eci-eb8575de402
Building the campaign
Social media will play a vital role in making the initiative a success. If you are not already signed up to our social media accounts please see:
We have also set up a Facebook group where supporters can share information and discuss building the campaign: https://www.facebook.com/groups/243024446179789/
To build the campaign, we need to pay for some advertising on social media. The initiative has got this far with very little money. Some of our supporters have made donations, but we need quite a bit more in order to reach out to people and achieve the 1,000,000 target.
Can you consider making a donation? If everyone receiving this email donated even a small amount, it will make a huge difference to what we can do.
DONATE HERE: https://www.paypal.me/eucitizen2017
Supporting the campaign
We are delighted to have the support of Another Europe is Possible, New Europeans and the executive committee of the Transport and Salaried Staffs’ Association. Individual supporters include anti-poverty campaigner Ruth Lister, the dramatist Trevor Griffiths, journalist Jonathan Steele, peace campaigners Bruce Kent and Kate Hudson and a growing list of others. Endorsements from organisations and prominent individuals help to build the profile of any campaign. If you are in contact with high-profile potential backers, be they from the cultural or political world, please approach them about ‘Retaining European Citizenship’ or pass on their details to us.
Many thanks for all your help, keep spreading the word and look out for updates over the weeks to come.
Retain European Citizenship!
Retaining European Citizenship
MODEL LETTER TO BE SENT TO PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATES
IN THE UK GENERAL ELECTION
RETAINING EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP
Dear [Candidates Name],
Brexit brings great uncertainty, especially to many people who have moved around the European Union and reside in member states other than that of their birth. Far from living in freedom and dignity, their lives are now subject to someone else’s bargain.
With that in mind, a group of EU citizens have launched a European Citizens’ Initiative titled ‘Retaining European Citizenship’ (text below) as a spur to legislation at the European level. The Commission has now registered the Initiative, and the organisers will soon commence collecting the required one million endorsements from European citizens resident in at least seven member states by May 2018. This, of course, is a big task.
Michel Barnier, the European Union’s Brexit negotiator, welcomed the Initiative in the spirit of ‘Citizens First!’
I am writing to ask that you publicly endorse the Initiative and agree to publish your name amongst the list of supporters. The text of the initiative reads:
‘To uphold the right of Union citizens to move and reside freely within the territory of Member States under objective conditions of freedom and dignity (Directive 2004/38/EC), and to safeguard citizens of the Union from use as bargaining chips in negotiations under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, requests the Commission submit a proposal to retain the rights of EU citizenship for all those who have already exercised their freedom of movement prior to the departure of a Member state leaving the Union, and for those nationals of a departing State who wish to retain their status as citizens of the Union.’
[Your Address including postcode]
'Europe in view'
Tony Simpson's editorial from The Spokesman Number 135
'We’ve heard little about European citizenship in Brexit debates, neither before the referendum of June 2016, nor since. Yet the status, rights and responsibilities of European citizenship attach to all UK nationals, whether they wish it or not. Since the early 1990s, children in the UK and other member states of the European Union are born European citizens. These millions of young people grow up able to travel freely throughout some 30 countries, study in them, in some places without paying university fees, oftentimes receiving bursaries under the Erasmus programme to encourage them to move around the Union and acquire additional language skills. Those of us who are older became European citizens in the 1990s, in addition to our status as UK citizens or citizens of other member states. Our passports have the words ‘European Union’ on the front cover and, as it says inside, we are entitled to seek assistance at the embassies of other EU member states whilst travelling, should our own national embassy not be accessible. Not only can we move freely within the territory of Member States, we also have the right as European citizens to reside in them. Millions of people take advantage of this right. More than three million UK citizens reside in other EU Member States, while more than two million EU nationals reside in the UK. Reciprocal access to health care underpins such migration, as do receipts of pensions and other benefits in the country of residence...'
To read on click http://www.spokesmanbooks.com/Spokesman/PDF/edit135.pdf