After more than two years of campaigning we welcome Theresa May's unequivocal confirmation that EU27citizens in the UK will be granted unilateral guarantees of their rights.
Commenting on the announcement, Roger Casale, Founder and CEO of New Europeans said:
"We await further details and will meet with the Home Office on Monday, 24 September to learn more but it is clear that the lives of 3.8m EU 27 citizens in the UK are no longer being held hostage to the Brexit negotiations.
This will be a huge relief to individuals and families across Britain whose life plans had been thrown into jeopardy by the Brexit vote and the failure of the UK government to grant unilateral guarantees immediately.
It is also a vindication of our decision to stay at arms length from the negotiations while demanding unilateral action in parallel from the UK and the EU respectively.
Both sides should have acted sooner and might have been persuaded to do so if the focus had been on the illegitimacy of the negotiations which we always believed would end in this way."
Our award-wining campaign and insistence on unilateral guarantees drew support from the TUC, CBI, all opposition parties, and the Exiting the EU Select Committee and campaign organisations such as Amnesty International, Migrant Voice and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and we are truly grateful to all who agreed that the issue of citizens' rights had to be resolved unilaterally and helped us campaign for this.
It was also supported and under-pinned by leading academic research including by Prof.Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Inaugural Chair in Law, University of Goldsmiths, who anchored the debate about citizens' rights in a human rights framework and showed that there was the risk of a structural violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights , by Professor Brad Blitz, University of Middlesex and Mark Lazarowicz as well as original survey research which was presented to the European Parliament by Samia Badani.
We were also supported by our vibrant and cosmopolitan team of campaigners and by members and supporters who raised funds for our missions to the European Parliament and to hold meetings with MPs and Embassy officials from EU27 member states in London. Our team included Kristiana Kuneva and Maria Spirova (Bulgaria), Prof. Emmy van Deurzen (Netherlands), An Vrancken (Belgium), Paulius Mackela (Lithuania), Bella Kosmala (Sweden), Katharina Lawall , Lena Kronenbürger and Marie-Noelle Loewe (Germany), Isis Acosta (Spain), Paolo Costa (Portugal), Raluca Enescu and Suzana Carp (Romania), Maria Luisa Maccalli and Maria Laura Franciosi (Italy), Michal Siewniak and Monika Tkaczyk (Poland), Anastasios Vourexakis (Greece), Tamara Flanagan OBE and Jon Ward (Ireland), Adrien de Souter (Croatia) and many others.
Special mention also goes to Tom Brake MP, Chair fo the All-Party Parliamentary Group on EU citizenship rights and Julie Ward MEP, Chair of the Citizens' Rights Friendship Group in the European Parliament and to all the MPs and MEPs who signed up to support the work fo these groups and the campaign for unilateral guarantees, including Caroline Lucas MP, Sir Peter Bottomley MP, Ben Lake MP, Alyn Smith MEP, Mike Gapes MP, Andy Slaughter MP, Mary Honeyball MP, Charles Tannock MEP, Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, Catherine Bearder MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Molly Scott Cato MEP, Andy Slaughter MP, Catherine Stihler MEP, Seb Dance MEP and many others including MEPs from a range of member states of the EU.
Dr Ruvi Ziegler, Chair of New Europeans UK said:
"The spectacle of the UK and the EU "negotiating" over the lives of millions of Britons in Europe and EU27 citizens has been a shameful one for Britain and the EU, and has caused psychological and emotional distress to millions of EU27 citizens and Britons abroad.
We will continue to press the government on the details of these guarantees and to confirm that the political rights of EU27 citizens will be protected irrespective of Brexit"
We continue to press for a similar statement from the EU about the rights of Britons in Europe which we have also called for to be guaranteed unilaterally.