Renew’s campaign for EU Citizenship for Brits in EU 27

Renew’s campaign for EU Citizenship for Brits in EU 27

Bremain in Spain and the Renew Party UK started working together way back in April 2018 when they approached us to assist with developing their policies re Britons Abroad. We have remained in regular contact, mainly through Terry Knott, Renew European Coordinator. You can read more about Renew here and their policies on Britons Abroad here.

Terry has made us aware of a new campaign for Britons in the EU27 to maintain their EU citizenship and is working with French lawyer and Bremain member Julien Fouchet and his team. Here’s what Terry has to say about the campaign:

 

There are 1.4 million British passport holders in the EU, including YOU, with 80% working, studying or researching (U.K. government own figure). For the past 4 years, we’ve been treated like mushrooms: kept in the dark and fed on manure!

We’ve lost our vote in the EU, due to Brexit and our vote in the U.K., after 15 years, even if we pay taxes.

Enough. The Renew Party is working with the inestimable French lawyer, Maitre Julien Fouchet and his team, pro-bono, to win European Citizenship and YOU can help him, win back our Freedom of Movement, in the EU and so much more. Read on for how members of Bremain and beyond can support this initiative.

Col Terry Knott MC
Maitre Julien Fouchet
The document below outlines the case and a copy has been sent to Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, and Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt.
There have been cases before which have been unsuccesful, however, M Fouchet and Terry both believe that these cases stand a much better chance of success, now that Brexit has actually happened.

Below you can read both the testimony and a newspaper article submitted by one of the plaintiffs, Alice:

“CIVIS ROMANUS SUM – CIVIS EUROPEUS SUM

Here I am, a Citizen of the European Union whose rights and privileges have been stripped away from me without me being able to vote on the matter.

Who is it that dares to say that I no longer naturally belong where I have made my home in total legality? That I should need a ‘Carte de Sejour’ to confirm my duty to the state in which I live and work; when only yesterday I enjoyed full and fair rights and privileges?

My only privilege now is to pay my taxes; with what in return? Do I have freedom of movement to live and work in 27 countries? NO! Why not? Because people living in a country that saw my birth, 1000 miles away, and where I can no longer vote, who know nothing of my situation, have decided that ‘they’ are better off stripping ‘my’ rights away. What utter nonsense. How unfair is that?

The treaties demand that decisions on the welfare of European Citizens be taken as close as possible to the people concerned. Those people who voted in the referendum in 2016 live very far away from me. They have other preoccupations, such as fishing rights or sovereignty with gunboats to back up their arguments. Those arguments had nothing to do with my situation and yet I have been fully affected by them in a negative way. I have lost my only rights to vote anywhere as a consequence, as well as my Freedom of Movement.

Continue reading

The mass media try to tell me that I am no longer a European Citizen but CIVIS EUROPEUS SUM! Once a European Citizen, always a European Citizen. Mr Murdoch was visibly furious about being summoned to come before the Parliamentary Select Committee and vowed his vengeance in his newspapers. He appears to have managed. I started to campaign for our rights when I realised that there was no one in power in the UK with the slightest regard for my situation or the situation of millions of others like me. To be disenfranchised is a horrible feeling; with one decree you are thrown back into a state similar to that of childhood. Your voice does not matter, your opinions do not change anything. There is a feeling of being bereft. The suffragettes were not fighting for something that they had lost nor for something that they had previously held. They were fighting for new rights. The arguments of the Suffragettes and the abolitionist movement in the USA are just as valid now as they ever were. I am fighting to regain my rights, to be counted as a grown-up adult. What happens when you lose the right to vote? You are disenfranchised, this means that you become a child in the eyes of society. A child with no parent or guardian to take up your problems or worries. Just as an orphan can ask for emancipation when his or her parents die and he or she has to take on the responsibility for a family, so do I ask to be emancipated, to be able to vote again as a fully-fledged European Citizen once more. Why was there no one there to speak up for me? Unlike other European countries the United Kingdom has no Member of Parliament for those who live outside its borders. France in comparison does have parliamentary representatives for its expatriates, wherever they live in the World. The only thing or structures that the UK has are the consular services or the British Council (that British citizens have no access to). Consular services have been reduced to mere trade envoys as Mrs Ratcliffe has found to her cost. A British person outside the UK has no support or voice and there is no help. Members of Parliament are unreachable by people who are not their constituents. An MP is not allowed to reply to a letter from someone outside their constituency (James Foley’s case). This system, or lack of it is fine if you have an MP. Not so good if you don’t have one. The only recourse is to write to the Upper House or Her Majesty The Queen. I wrote to Lord Hestletine in 2016. To Lord Adonis, To Dominic Grieve who have since become part of the European Movement.  The Queen however was unable to concern herself with ‘political’ matters. Mrs Ratcliffe has an admirable husband who has publicised her case but how many Britons are there with no protection whatsoever? Until January 2020 Britons had access to European Union consular services and ultimately judicial help through the European Union Court system. A person accused of a crime could ask for help from any European Union Embassy or Consular service. This is no longer true. I was turned away by the guards, from the UK Embassy in Oslo with my British born, dual national Anglo/French son in 2017 when he had a serious personal problem. What are we to say to Mrs Page who had planned to live out her retirement in a lovely house in the French countryside surrounded by her horse, her dogs and her cats, when after the referendum her income from the UK was slashed by a third due to the Brexit vote, and who is now in a retirement home in Hungerford without her beloved animals? What do we say to my godfather, Mike Johnson, whose two girls, who have always lived in France and are having difficulty getting their Cartes de Sejour, or the twins who went for French nationality: One was given it , but the other was denied it. A great many of those worst affected are recently arrived British women, widows, divorcees, wives of EU nationals. Some with children at foot with dual nationality. Which jurisdiction will uphold the rights of divorced couples, in the future? Collateral damage, you might say, Collateral damage, as if that was a fair excuse. Life is unfair, you might say, Yes: that is the reason for the existence of the Courts and their Justice system. Remember, last month, that all of these people were European Citizens and totally and legally within their rights to be where they are now. They are now destitute of their rights. What should we all do in these examples?  I do not feel that it is right to wave a ‘flag of convenience, like some clandestine ship’ by taking the nationality of another European country and by virtue of that subterfuge, be recognised once again as a European Citizen (many people cannot for various reasons). I still am a European Citizen and wish to stay so. I was given Citizenship of Europe by virtue of my country joining the European Union in 1973. Reinforced in 1992 by the Maastricht treaty. From that moment forward I have been a European Citizen I own that Citizenship. It is a fundamental status. My inalienable right, part of my being. One thing is certain, and that is that on the 31st January 2020 I was a fully fledged European Citizen with all the rights and obligations mentioned in the European Charter of Human rights. Since that date no one has sent me a message personally to tell me that I am no longer a European Citizen. If they had I would have contested it.  Instead without warning, I was made aware that I could no longer vote in the municipal elections in March 2020. My name was absent from the register, with the humiliation of being singled out. During the Brexit negotiations we have all been told that nothing was final until everything was signed. The social side was sadly forgotten. Why have I been discriminated against? Although everyone understands that geopolitical states are often in flux, there is a growing group of families that are spread over the whole of Europe and these people are often highly educated and possess three or more languages, they need to be able to belong to a group that has distinct protections rights and duties. Who pays for my European Citizenship? I pay for it at the moment through taxation in my chosen country France. When on European soil the taxes of all European citizens are collected and a proportion is ring fenced for European projects. When outside European soil, the taxes of European citizens have always gone to the country of residence. This should not have to change. The finances of Europe will not suffer from giving me back my rights. Civil rights are often made to sound like some outlandish impertinence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Basic Human rights are the bedrock of society.

You can see from the documents below what information Terry and the team require, how your data will be handled securely and how to join the campaign. Obviously in Spain the document would be Residencia instead of Carte de Sejour.

If you would like to participate, please download the forms from here, complete and send them, along with the necessary supporting documents via email to

eu.britizens@gmail.com

Should you have any queries, please email the team directly on the above address. Bremain would like to wish Terry and the team every success.

Events 2021

Events 2021

27th January

Online Event

19.30 – 21.00 GMT

Grassroots for Europe
Europe: Keeping the Flame Alive
Speakers: Will Hutton & Gina Miller
Book your place here

Grassroots

27th January

Online Event

20.00 GMT

Cambridge for Europe
Beyond the red wall: Voters, Views & Values after end of transition
Speaker: Deborah Mattinson of Britain Thinks
Register to attend here

Cambridge

26th January

Online Event

19.00 – 21.00 GMT

Oxford for Europe/Grassroots for Europe
Brexit – Expectations & Reality
Speakers: Ian Dunt & Tony Connelly
Register to attend here

Ian Dunt

18th January

Online Event

20.00 – 21.00 CET

Canberry Press
Brexit: What the hell happens now?
Speaker: Ian Dunt
Register to attend here

Brexit

14th January

Online Event

20.00 – 22.00 CET

N.E. Surrey for Europe
Brexit and the current state of play
Speaker: Professor Catherine Barnard
Snr. Professor in EU law
Register to attend here

Catherine Barnard

4th January

Online Event

13.30 – 14.30 CET

LO Brussel
Brexit 2021: A Snapshot!
Speakers: Hans-Christian Gabrielsen, Wegger Chr. Strømmen, Judith Kirton-Darling
To sign up, email:
robert.hansen@lo.no

Politico
Autumn/Winter Events

Autumn/Winter Events

10th December

 Virtual event

16.30 CET

POLITICO
Europe’s economy: How can it be reset?
Speakers: Laurence Boone, Tadeusz Kościński, Maarten Verwey
Register to attend here

Politico

10th December

 Live Panel Event on Facebook & Twitter

18.00 – 19.00  GMT

Good Law Project
Cronyism: how can Government justify handing top jobs to their mates?
Speakers: Jolyon Maugham QC, Clive Lewis MP, Dr. Helima Begum
Register to attend here

Good Law Project

10th December

Online event,
Live streamed

19.00 – 20.00 GMT

The Guardian Live
A Year in Westminster with:
Marina Hyde & John Crace

Cost: £5 & booking fee
Book tickets here

Guardian Event

3rd December

Online event

19.00 – 21.00 GMT

N.E. Surrey for Europe/Mole Valley European Movement
Johnson’s Great Brexit Deal – how far have we got?
Guest Speaker: Prof. Michael Dougan
Register to attend here

Michael Dougan

3rd December

Online event

12.00 – 13.00 CET

Going Global:
The Brexit Enquiry
The transition period comes to an end this year – are you ready?
Lee McDarby talks to Vicky Pryce & Charlie McGreevey
Register to attend here

Brexit 31220

2nd December

Online event

18.30 – 20.00 GMT

Islington in Europe
EU Nationals – understand your options post-Brexit
Speakers: lawyers from Wilson solicitors & Wesley Gryk solicitors will answer questions
Register to attend here

Brexit EU nats 021220

25th November

Webinar

17.00 – 17.40 CET

British Embassy Q&A exclusive for Bremain members

Featuring Lorna Geddie, Regional Consular Policy Advisor & Bremain council

Register to attend here

British Embassy

24th November

Online event

19.00 GMT

Oxford for Europe

“Our Democracy & the Rule of Law – Who is Threatening them & Why?”

Speakers: Jessica Simor QC & Peter Jukes, Writer/Activist

Register to attend here

Jessica Simor & Peter Jukes

21st November

Online Conference

Times tbc

Stay European

Campaign for EU associate membership scheme

To express an interest in taking part, email: 
join@stayeuropean.org

Stay European

17th November

Webinar

12.00 – 13.00 CET

European Parliament UK Liaison Office

The Final Hurdle – Will the EP Consent to the Brexit trade deal?
Moderator: John Peet (The Economist)
Speakers: MEPs Kati Piri & Christophe Hansen

Register to attend here

EU Nov

12th November

Online event

20.00 – 21.00 CET

Liberal Democrats in Europe

Citizens’ rights post Brexit for UK nationals living in the EU

Presented by Lord Oates

Register to attend here

Lord Oates

12th November

Webinar

15.00 GMT

Tony Blair institute for Global Change & YouGov

How the pandemic has changed attitudes to globalisation & technology

Speakers: Tony Blair, Indra Nooyi & Stephan Shakespeare

Register to attend here

Tony Blair YouGov

3rd November

Live on Slido & You Tube

 13.00 – 14.00 GBT

UK in a Changing Europe

Transatlantic relations & the US election

Chaired by Anand Menon

Register to attend here

UK in a Changing Europe

15th October
Online event

20.00 BST

In Limbo Book Launch

Guest speakers include:
Ian Dunt, Elena Remigi, Lord Greaves

To register your interest, click here

In Limbo

15th October

12.00 BST

Respect our Rights, Keep your Promises
Placard Protest & live stream.
Speakers include Terry Reintke MEP

To join the event on Facebook, click here

Rights & Promises

8th October
All day lobby

19.00 Virtual Rally

European Movement UK
Online lobby & #No2NoDeal virtual rally
Sign up to take part here
Supported by Grassroots For Europe

No2NoDeal

29th September
18.00 – 19.00 BST

UK in a Changing Europe
Beyond Brexit Live
With Lisa Nandy MP & Anand Menon.
Register here

Sept 29th
23rd September

20.00 – 21.30 BST

Ian Dunt Online Event
How to be a liberal.
Hosted by Bath for Europe & Cambridge for Europe
Register here

Ian Dunt event 230920

16th September
19.00 BST

EU Citizens in the UK Webinar:
Challenges, Stories & What Next?
Guest speakers:
Matt Rodda MP
Elena Remigi – In Limbo
Monique Hawkins – The 3 Million

EU Citizens Event
12th September

15.00 – 18.30 BST

BBC Proms EU Flags
Details being confirmed, Covid measures will apply
Reserve a place here
EU Flag Mafia event 120920
3rd September

12.30 – 14.00 BST

European Parliament
Liaison Office
Live Webinar:
The European Parliament & Future EU-UK trade relations
Register here

EP Event
3rd September

19.00 BST

Grassroots For Europe Webinar:
Britain’s road back to Europe. How quickly can Brexit be reversed? Featuring journalist Will Hutton
Register here

GFE event 030920
Europe Day 9th May- Bremainers Celebrate with Memories

Europe Day 9th May- Bremainers Celebrate with Memories

Europe Day is held on 9 May every year in celebration of peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historic Schuman declaration‘. At a speech in Paris in 1950, Robert Schuman, the French foreign minister, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable. Schuman’s proposal is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union.

Tragically, the UK was no longer a member state of the European Union for the seventieth anniversary of Schuman’s speech. This Europe Day was, therefore, all the more poignant. The loss was felt by Brits in the EU, EU citizens in the UK and Remainers everywhere. It saddens us that the freedoms we took advantage of, to live, love, work, study & retire in the EU, will be denied to future generations. A message of solidarity and friendship from the ambassadors of all the EU nations to the British people underlined how much we are losing, but also how much there still is to fight for.

On Saturday May 9 this year, inspired by Steve Bray’s #2020MarchForEU virtual March on Parliament, Bremain members celebrated Europe Day. In a break from our usual business, Facebook Group members shared their photographs & memories of the last 4 years of marching, campaigning & waving the EU flag. We marched in rain and sunshine, we held rallies, signed petitions, we wrote letters and e-mails, and we never gave up. And we forged friendships that will continue to unite us across Europe, whatever the next few years bring.

 

Please view our gallery images. Click to enlarge and simply scroll through.

“Growing blue hair and blowing a whistle!”

 

“Bremain in Spain – keeping me sane!”

“Would not have missed it for the world”

 

“As always, great to meet so many lovely kindred spirits and to feel the solidarity!”

“Some amazing memories and lovely friendships”

 

“Happy Europe Day one and all. Too many photos to choose from!”

March in Malaga – Bremain Annual Strategy Meeting & AGM

March in Malaga – Bremain Annual Strategy Meeting & AGM

On Saturday 7 March, the Bremain Council gathered together for our annual strategy meeting, to discuss every aspect of Bremain business. The most important agenda item was determining our goals, aims and strategies for our short/medium term future. We came up with a comprehensive list for the rest of 2020, and determined that with the unpredictability of Brexit, looking any further ahead at this stage would require a much more powerful crystal ball!

Other topics discussed included council roles and responsibilities, our current campaigns – #Letters2Europe and #VotesForLife, merchandising and fundraising, a membership drive, collaborations with other groups, and regional group activities.

The council also spent time revisiting our website, Facebook group, Facebook pages and Twitter account descriptions to update all relevant information in line with the new post-Brexit landscape, and to reflect our new aims and strategies.

On Sunday 8 March, the council were joined by Bremain in Spain members for our Annual General Meeting. Bremain accounts were introduced, Chair and council members were re-nominated and voted for unanimously, and the Bremain Annual Report was presented.

The Annual Report included details of membership numbers and growth, affiliations, a review of 2019 including our achievements, and our newly agreed goals, aims and strategies for 2020.

The audience took an active role in the meeting, with animated discussions and lots of questions on a variety of topics including: Votes for Life campaign suggestions, merchandising ideas, sponsorship, expanding newsletter readership and extending our reach in Spain. All attending members then joined the council for lunch in the garden, where the discussions continued in the sunshine.

Thank you to all those that attended, for your ongoing support, and for the great feedback we received following the event – you helped make it an enjoyable, interesting and successful afternoon. See you next year!

Many thanks to Jim Westlake who took all the photos. 

Votes for Life – A Bremain Campaign 2020

Votes for Life – A Bremain Campaign 2020

Campaigning to restore the lifelong right to vote for all UK citizens overseas

Prior to 1985, British citizens living overseas did not have the right to vote. The Representation of the People Act 1985 enabled overseas citizens to vote in the constituency where they had previously lived, but only for a period of five years. That was extended to twenty years in 1989 but reduced to fifteen years in 2000, a limit which still applies today.

It is estimated that around 3 million Britons, of an estimated 4.9 million living overseas, have been denied the right to vote due to the fifteen year rule. 

Many other democracies allow their overseas citizens Votes for Life, something about which Bremain in Spain members feel very strongly. Many were disenfranchised during the EU referendum vote which created a significant impact and uncertainty on their daily lives in their adopted country. Many UK citizens in Europe moved abroad for many different reasons but with the understanding that they could due to Freedom of Movement. Many UK citizens overseas still pay UK taxes, have family and/or close connections to the UK and care deeply about the UK national interest.

Political Background

The three main political parties in the UK have differing opinions on Votes for Life, with the Labour Party maintaining silence on the subject in the last three elections.

The Liberal Democrats 2019 manifesto declared that it will “Enable all UK citizens living abroad to vote for MPs in separate overseas constituencies, and to participate in UK referendums.”. 

In the 2019 General Elections, the Conservative party manifesto included the following:

“We will make it easier for British expats to vote in Parliamentary elections and get rid of the arbitrary 15-year limit on their voting rights “ (Conservative Party manifesto, ‘Get Brexit Done’, Dec 2019, p.48).

It was also included in the 2010, 2015 and 2017 manifestos and to date, this has not been delivered.

 

Campaign

We have prepared a template letter for you to write or email your MP. Please remember to include your full name and current address, as well as quoting the postcode for your last address in the UK – this will verify your eligibility to communicate with your MP as a constituent. There are also downloadable memes which you can tweet or share on social media. Please ‘Like’ our Campaign Facebook Page to keep up with the latest news.

We’re thrilled that Harry Shindler MBE and the following organisations have given their backing to our Votes for Life Campaign 2020:

Harry Shindler
Grassroots for Europe
european movement
Best for Britain
BHOV
In Limbo
RIFT
Voices for Europe
New Europeans

98 year old Harry Shindler MBE, has been campaigning for the restoration of voting rights for over 20 years . Following his recent trip to London and his discussions in Westminster, he told our Chair, Sue Wilson that he was informed by politicians, “Harry – you will get your vote”. Harry went on to say, “I am confident that we will secure the vote, but we must never let up! We must keep up the fight until everything is safe. Voting rights are an integral part of our democracy. I fully support Bremain in Spain in their endeavours”.

Richard Wilson, Chair of Grassroots for Europe, said, “An important task for the grassroots movement, over the coming months, will be to hold the government to their promises. Those promises include a commitment to restore voting rights to the disenfranchised Brits in the EU. We therefore fully support Bremain in Spain’s Votes for Life campaign”.

Hugo Mann, CEO of European Movement UK, said “Boris Johnson has proven time and time again that he cannot be trusted to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU. It’s vital that we do everything that we can to ensure that, as the people most affected by Brexit, their voices are heard”.

Naomi Smith, CEO Best for Britain, said “Around 3.6 million EU citizens have made their lives in the UK and more than a million British people have chosen to live in Europe. We say give all British citizens and EU citizens resident in the UK an equal say in elections that affect their lives.”

Debbie Williams – Founder – Brexpats-Hear Our Voice 

“All British citizens who move abroad should remain part of the democratic process in the United Kingdom. We have already seen the fall out when they have not been allowed a say in a political process that directly affects their lives. We at BHOV support this excellent campaign.” 

Elena Remigi – Founder – In Limbo

“In Limbo wholeheartedly supports this campaign for the right of UK citizens to carry on voting regardless of how many years they have lived overseas. Living abroad does not mean one loses interest for one’s own country, especially when certain decisions have a direct impact on one’s future, such as the decision to leave the EU.”

Leigh Chandler – Campaign Spokesman – Remain in France Together (RIFT)

“Many hundreds if not thousands of UK citizens living in France have already lost, or will lose, their right to vote in the UK once they have lived overseas for 15 years. RIFT has always championed the right to vote for life, regardless of where you now call home. We wholeheartedly support Bremain in its Votes for Life campaign to address the right to vote for all.”

Emmy van Deurzen Founder of Voices for Europe “

Voices for Europe are delighted to endorse this campaign for votes for life for Brits who live abroad. 

It is now vital for all mobile Brits, as it is for mobile EU citizens, to have a say on their future.”

Roger Casale, CEO New Europeans

“It is good news that the Government has promised to extend voting rights to Britons abroad, even though we deplore the introduction of stricter immigration rules and fewer rights for EU citizens already in the UK. This campaign is needed in order to make sure it delivers on that promise.” 

The New European have recently just written a comprehensive story about the loss of voting rights amongst Britons living overseas which you can read here. In most European counties, British citizens can no longer vote in either general or local elections. However, thanks to a bilateral agreement between Spain and the UK, we can still participate in local elections in Spain.

Campaign Tool Kit

 

MEMES – Memes for you to download and share across social media. 

TEMPLATE LETTER for you to write or email your MP.

You can view the template letter as a PDF HERE or by selecting the image right.

To download a Word document which you can tailor to your own requirements, select the following LINK HERE

Please remember to include your full name and current address, as well as quoting the postcode for your last address in the UK, so your MP can verify your eligibility to communicate with them.

A simple way to email your MP is through Write to Them – Making it easy to write to the politicians who represent you – even if you don’t know who they are. You can find the website HERE – https://www.writetothem.com/

SOCIAL MEDIA
Please ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ the Votes for Life Facebook page HERE – @votesforlife2020
You can also use the hashtag #votesforlife on Twitter

Here’s a copy of the recent letter from Boris Johnson to Harry Shindler. We understand completely everyone’s cynicism regarding the government keeping manifesto promises. It’s up to all of us to make sure that after 20 years of campaigning, Harry Shindler gets to vote once more in his lifetime. Harry will be 100 next year!

Johnson Shindler letter

Update 16 March 2020

Bremain in Spain recently raised the issue of Votes for Life with the British Embassy in Madrid, & have received this response:

“The UK government intends to scrap the rule that prevents British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from participating in UK parliamentary elections. They recognise that many British citizens retain deep ties to the UK and they are therefore committed to implementing votes for life before the next scheduled general election in 2024. An announcement on the government’s plans will be made in due course”.

We appreciate that under the current circumstances, that other important priorities are the focus, but be assured that we will continue to raise this issue at every suitable opportunity to ensure the government keeps its manifesto promises.