The General Election result has intensified the sense of uncertainty and anxiety felt by 3.4M EU citizens in the UK and 1.6M UK citizens in the EU and weakened the Prime Minister’s hand in the Brexit negotiations.
In a statement, Roger Casale, Founder and CEO of New Europeans, said:
"We call on the government to bring forward legislation in the Queen’s Speech to grant a comprehensive, immediate and unilateral guarantee to EU nationals in the UK of all the rights they currently enjoy.
We refer to all the rights EU citizens currently enjoy in the UK and that derive from the fact that they are EU citizens resident in another member state, including the rights of any family members who may join them in the UK in the future.".
Before the referendum, New Europeans worked with Leave organisations, including Migration Watch and netural organnisations such as British Future to achieve a cross-party and cross-campaign consensus that the rights of EU citizens should be guaranteed unilaterally in the event that Britain voted to leave the EU.
On 20 February, New Europeans organised a mass lobby of the parliament by EU citizens to demand their rights, supported by our affiliate organisation UNISON and grassroots campaigners including T3M.
On 25 March, we were the lead sponsor on a demonstration which brought 100,000 protestors to London to protest at the lack of progress on EU citizens rights and to unite for Europe.
Subsequently, the House of Lords passed amendments to the Article 50 Bill to protect the rights of EU citizens but these were subseqeuntly over-turned in the House of Commons.
In an acclaimed report to the European Parliament, Samia Badani, Head of UK Campaigns and Stakeholder Engagement for New Europeans and Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Director of the Britain in Europe Think Tank at Brunel University made clear that EU citizens are suffering anxiety and depression as a result of the uncertainty they face about their future. Many no longer feel welcome in the UK.
The authors argue that the government has an obligation to act to remove this uncertainty under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Calling for the unilateral guarantee, Samia Badani said:
" Irrespective of the start of the negotiations, the UK has a responsibility towards the 3.4 million EU citizens who have settled in the UK and become an integral part of our social fabric.
Our research has shown that the UK's failure to give EU nationals unilateral guarantees has played a part in making over 44% of EU nationals no longer feel welcome in the UK.
It is also at odds with the government 's agenda to promote social cohesion and to build stronger communities."
Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos explained:
“Article 8 provides strong support to the argument that the UK must now unilaterally to recognise the rights of EU citizens in the UK."
“Unless it does so, it risks causing irreparable damage to the right to private and family life of 3.4 million Europeans, bringing disrepute to the system of human rights protection in the UK"