On Thursday 3 October, I took the train up to Barcelona to take part in two events organised by Mamen Candela and Amy Holden of Europeans for Catalonia. The first event was an hour-long radio interview, alongside Debbie Williams, Chair of Brexpats-Hear our Voice. We discussed all things Brexit-related, especially in regard to our rights, and our campaigns. You can listen to the radio show, by tuning in here.
The second event was a sell-out meeting of European citizens, mostly British and Spanish, at the Princess Hotel. Besides Debbie and me, there were two other speakers – Hedwig Hegtermans of the 3Million campaign group, representing European citizens in the UK, and Elena Remigi, founder of the In Limbo Project. As well as many members of Bremain in Spain, we were also delighted to have EU Supergirl, Madeleina Kay, in our audience. The presentations were well received, and a lively debate followed, with many questions from the audience. Once the event was over, we all retired to the bar to continue the discussions and to put the Brexit world to rights!
My fellow presenters had this to say, following the event:
Debbie Williams: “This really was a showcase event, promoting European collaboration and demonstrating that the spirit of the European Union is alive and well. Thanks to my friends and fellow campaigners Elena, Sue and Hedwig, the “girly swots”, for their outstanding commitment and knowledge”.
Hedwig Hegtermans: “I felt the evening covered many of the different facets Brexit put us in. The audience was wonderful, very engaged and asking important questions. It was a pleasure to be part of it”.
Elena Remigi: “The event proved how cooperation and solidarity always bear good fruit and how we can achieve greater things if we work together. I was touched by the response to the testimonies and how the audience engaged, asking what they could do. This is the sign of how these stories moved consciences”.
A special thanks, from us all, to the organisers, for giving us the opportunity to spread the word that our rights matter, and that there is everything to play for. As Mamen said afterwards, “This event has raised awareness about the extremely difficult situation faced by EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU. The speakers showed the human impact of Brexit, highlighted the importance of healing the divisions, and encouraged the audience to take action to stop Brexit and protect our rights”.
Mamen also kindly shared with us this comment from a British friend, who attended the event: “Frankly, I had not given much thought to the impact of Brexit on EU citizens in the UK before, but obviously they suffer great uncertainty now. I am rather embarrassed to be British now. I will write to my MP and MEP this weekend”.
Thank you again to everyone involved – the organisers, the speakers, and the audience. We’re all in this together, and we can all contribute, so get writing, get lobbying and get involved! We may not all be in Catalonia, but we are all Europeans, and long may it stay that way!
You can read more about Europeans in Catalonia here.
Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain