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Parliamentary Briefing - EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU

New Europeans was set up because no one could give an answer to this question:

“What would happen to 3.2 million EU citizens in the UK and 1.6 m UK citizens in the EU if the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union?” (Never forgetting that all UK Citizens are EU citizens too!)


Today, 7th February it seems that we finally are starting to get an answer.

The Government has announced that it will incorporate the existing rights fo EU citizens into the Great Repeal Bill.

Our reaction


"This represents significant victory for all politicians, CSOs, businesses and unions and others who have been campaigning on this following our lead on this from last 24 June. Thank you.

We are not quite there yet so please stay with this and see it through" . Roger Casale, Founder and CEO, New Europeans

- We welcome move in the right direction
- This is not the same as guarantees now 
- We don't know how long it will take to get Great Repeal Bill on statute book
- Until then uncertainty will continue
- We welcome support for the amendments to probe government further in Lords
- We are going ahead with our Mass Lobby and will continue to campaign until job is done



Four years on and still no proposals from the Government. Section 6 of the Government’s White Paper: ’The UK Government’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union’ makes no proposals as to how the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU will be safeguarded. Millions of individuals and their families feel that they are being held hostage by the government, pending negotiations. 

"This is not just unfair. It is is totally unacceptable in an open, democractic society in the twenty-first century. There has not been a war and we are not at the Versailles Peace Conference deciding the fate of  populations en masse. We are dealing with individuals and individuals have rights."

Roger Casale, Founder and CEO, New Europeans

Meanwhile, surveys conducted by New Europeans and others since the referendum have shown that many EU citizens in the UK have had their lives severely disrupted by the uncertainty they feel about their own and their family’s future.

In face-to-face briefings with EU Ambassadors since July 2017, New Europeans has made clear that UK citizens living in the EU also feel the ground has been taken from beneath their feet.  

We called on the EU Ambassadors to ask their governments to grant unilateral guarantees to UK citizens resident in their member states and thereby take the high moral ground in the name of Europe. Nothing has happened.

There has been a worrying increase in reported hate crime in the UK since the referendum. We have also received reports that some UK citizens abroad are being refused residency permits (to which they are still entitled while the UK remains a member of the EU).

Most EU citizens in the UK and 98% of UK citizens in the EU did not have the vote in the referendum on whether the UK should leave the EU. And yet the outcome of the referendum will remove the efficacy of EU citizens rights in the UK on the part of EU citizens, and strip UK citizens in the UK and in the EU of these rights altogether.

The disabling of such rights should not be done by referendum and cannot be done by royal prerogative as the Supreme Court has made clear. The only way such rights can be taken away is by parliament.

We now call on parliament to protect our rights

Having successfully fought for the rights of Parliament to be restored, first in the High Court and then in the Supreme Court, in support of our partner organisation Fair Deal for Expats, one of the litigants in the case, we now call on the UK Parliament to exercise its prerogative and to take the following measures before authorising the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

- Guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK and, insofar as it is within its power to do so, the rights of UK citizens in the EU

- Safeguard these rights through primary legislation before it gives permission to the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50.

- Authorise any deal for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU if and only if these safeguards are locked into international law by treaty.

EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU are not bargaining chips in a negotiation. We are individual citizens protected by rights anchored in domestic, EU and international law. It would make a mockery of British traditions of fair play, justice and the defence of individual rights, were EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU to lose their rights by referendum.

That is why there is an overwhelming majority of opinion from both Remain and Leave camps and from all sides of the politics (incl. some in Ukip) that this should not occur. Whatever happens in the future with freedom of movement, the rights of EU citizens legally resident in the UK now, and those of UK citizens legally resident in the EU, need protecting.

Our policy proposals

We asked EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU to produce proposals for how our rights can be safe-guarded. These proposals are set out in the documents below:

*   UK Citizens in Europe: Towards An Alternative White Paper

*   the3Million: Guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK post Brexit 

*   A Green Card for Europe - winning entry in the Financial Times Future of Britain Awards, 2017

Amendments to the EU (Notification of Withdrawal Bill)

We are also asking MPs and Peers to support Amendments NC27 and NC99 to the Bill authorising the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50.

New Clause 27  “EU nationals in the United Kingdom”, safeguards all the rights of EU citizens living the UK at the time the Act comes into force

The Prime Minister may not exercise the power under subsection 1(1) unless the Prime Minister is satisfied that arrangements are in place to secure that every individual who is— (a) not a citizen of the UK, and (b) on the date on which this Act comes into force (“the Commencement Date”), is resident in the UK pursuant to any right derived from the treaties, shall, when the treaties cease to apply to the UK, continue to be entitled to reside in the UK on terms no less favourable than those applicable to that individual on the Commencement Date.

New Clause 99  “Parliamentary approval of the final terms of withdrawal from the EU", requires an Act of Parliament before any withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK comes into force or before the UK can leave the EU without such an agreement.

The United Kingdom shall withdraw from the EU once either—

a) Royal Assent is granted to an Act of Parliament that approves—

(i) the arrangements for withdrawal, and

(ii) the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU

as agreed to between the United Kingdom and EU, or

(b) Royal Assent is granted to an Act of Parliament that approves the United Kingdom’s withdrawal without an agreement being reached between the United Kingdom and the EU


 What you can do to help

If you would like to help with our campaign, please contact us as soon as possible att: 





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