Campaign appeal launched for a #GreenCard4Europe

We are raising funds to campaign for a Green Card for Europe to be included in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement if Britain leaves the EU.

Pledge your support here and help make it happen!

If you are a Briton living in an EU27 member state or an EU27 citizen living in the UK your future rights now depend on the outcome of the negotiations taking place between the British government and the European Commission about the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the EU

New Europeans has always argued for immediate, comprehensive and unilateral guarantees for all citizens whose life choices have been put in question by the result of the UK referendum.  People are not bargaining chips in negotiations.

There is also a risk that both sides will go away empty-handed because the citizens' rights issue has not been ring-fenced in the negotiations so that "nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed."

In the absence of any such guarantees, 3.4m EU 27 citizens in the UK and 1.6m Britons in the EU have had their lives thrown into limbo. Great uncertainty and anxiety persists about what will happen next.

We argue that this uncertainty represents an unjustified  interference in people's private and family lives and a potential violation of their human rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

EU27 citizens in the UK and Britons in the EU do not deserve to lose their rights as a result of a referendum - a referendum in which most of them had no say because they did not even have vote.

Our view is that for these citizens, nothing should change in relation to their future plans and that they should be able to carry on with their lives as normal despite the outcome of the referendum

How can this be achieved?

Firstly, Britons in the EU and EU27 citizens in the UK need to have their residency status secured. This is addressed in the draft EU Withdrawal Agreement. But they don't go far enough.

EU27 citizens will be granted settled status in the UK (indefinite leave to remain, even if they leave the UK for a period of up to 5 years) and Britons in the EU will be granted a reciprocal right to remain in the EU member state where they currently reside. 

Eligibility will depend on five years residency in the UK but any Briton who arrives in an EU27 member state or EU27 citizen who arrives in the UK prior to the end of the transition period will be able to apply once they have been resident for five years.

These proposals have been agreed by the EU and the UK government and are in the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

Britons in EU27 member states and EU27 citizens in the UK need to be given back the full set of rights they enjoyed prior to Britain leaving the EU.  

This means the right to freedom of movement in the EU, the right to non-discrimination and the right to vote and stand in local and European elections.

As things stand, Britons living in the EU27 member states will lose all these rights even if they retain the right to live in the EU27 member state where they currently reside. This is because they will lose their status as EU citizens when Britain leaves the EU and with it these entitlements.

EU27 citizens in the UK will still be EU citizens after Britain leaves the EU - but they will no longer be living in an EU member state. Therefore although they will still have their rights to freedom of movement across the EU they will lose the right to vote and stand in local and regional elections in Britain.

The European Parliament will have a veto on the final Withdrawal Agreement . It is now considering a simple, practical, proposal  to fill these gaps - the Green Card for Europe.

The Green Card 4 Europe Proposal

1) Register:  The European Commission should create a voluntary register of Britons  with permanent residency rights in an EU member state andEU27 citizens who live in the UK.

2) Green Card: Citizens on the register will be issued with a Green Card which will guarantee their rights  under the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK.

3) Rights:  Green card holderswill enjoy the same rights as EU27 citizens living outside their home member state, including the right to free movement and the right to vote and to stand in local and regional elections.

4) Reciprocity:  The UK will treat EU27 citizens who are Green Card holders as if Britain were still a member of the EU and EU member states will treat British Green Card holders as if they were still EU citizens.

5) Withdrawal agreement:  Commitments relating to the status of Green Card holders in the UK and the EU27 member states respectively will be anchored in the Withdrawal Agreement and subject to the same arbitration procedures that relate to the Withdrawal Agreement as a whole.

6) Governance: The Register itself would be subject to EU law with all existing remedies available to individuals including through the Data Commissioner, the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the ECJ.

What happens next?

As a result of our campaign, the European Parliament passed a motion in December 2017 to say that it would not agree to the Withdrawal Agreement unless the free movement rights of Britons in Europe were restored and gaps in the agreement were addressed in relation to the rights of EU27 citizens in the UK.

On 1 February 2018,  Roger Casale was asked to give evidence about the Green Card Proposal to a joint hearing of the Civil Liberties, Home Affairs and Justice Committee, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee and the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament.

Subsequently, the Green Gard proposal has been taken up in a resolution for debate in the European Parliament with a view to formally asking for the proposal to be placed on the agenda for the next round of negotiations between the EU and the UK .

It's down to you

The Green Card for Europe proposal is gaining traction within the EU institutions and there is also support for the proposal in the UK parliament.

Whether the proposal becomes a reality is down to you. 

If you are a British citizen living in the EU then please take the opportunity to act now, to invest in your own future and that of your family members and back the Green Card 4 Europe proposal which would give you back your right to freedom of movement within the EU.

If you are an EU27 citizen in the UK and you care about the full package of rights that you currently enjoy in the UK (including the right to vote in local and regional elections)  thanks to your EU citizenship and the fact that the UK is still an EU member state, then please back the Green Card proposal for Europe.

A Green Card for Europe would mean that for the 3.4 m EU 27 citizens in the UK and 1.6 m UK citizens in the EU, life could return to normal when (and if) Britain  leaves the EU.

It's your choice - a Green Card for Europe, or an uncertain future with a life-changing loss of rights.

We now need  a strong show of support behind our campaign for the Green Card for Europe from all those who will benefit from the introduction of the Green Card and also from all who care passionately about the future of a European Union based on fairness, solidarity and the safeguarding of rights.

Your support will mean that we can continue to campaign in Brussels, Strasbourg and London until we get the job done of securing the Green Card 4 Europe in the Withdrawal Agreement.



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