In the wake of the Brexit referendum on 23rd June 2016, as many of us grieved, pondered and tried to make sense of things, a number of pro-active individuals started to campaign. Some campaigns were linked to legal challenges around the vote itself; some campaigns were about celebrating Europe and saying to our fellow EU countries ‘we don’t want this!’ Some were simply an overflow of anger and grief. Not all of those initial campaign groups had a long life. However, some of the most enduring, and necessary are the groups which emerged to campaign for citizens’ rights.
The EU is ultimately all about citizenship – though this barely made it into the Leave/Remain discourse in 2016. It is terrifying enough to many British citizens living in the UK that a marginal vote, won by dishonest propaganda, is on the verge of taking away a whole chunk of our citizenship rights. But for others, this is combined with an uncertainty about their homes, families, friends, jobs, indeed, their whole way of life.
For those from other EU countries living in the UK, we saw campaign groups like The 3 Million and the beginning of projects to collect testimonies such as Our Brexit Testimonies and the resulting book, In Limbo. The reflection of these groups are those representing British citizens who have made their homes in other EU countries. What of their rights? One of the most high profile campaign groups representing British citizens abroad is Bremain in Spain.