2019: The Year We Finally Bury Brexit

2019: The Year We Finally Bury Brexit

This trip to BrusselsI’ve always enjoyed celebrating the New Year – a time to reflect on the previous 12 months, good and bad, and to look forward to a new beginning, a fresh start.

A time for optimism and hope, both ingredients that have been difficult to find on the Brexit menu, especially for us Brits living in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK.

Over the last year, so much has changed, with unpredictable events and surprising twists and turns along the way. Deadlines and Cabinet ministers came and went, but despite everything, Prime Minister Theresa May did have one major success. She actually managed to get everyone to agree on something – everyone hates her ‘deal’.

After many months of wrangling, May came back with the best deal possible from the European Union, bearing in mind her self-imposed red lines. Thanks to May’s ridiculous insistence on restricting freedom of movement, she had left no room for manoeuvre. The EU, naturally, stuck together to protect all their members and the integrity of the single market.

Throughout the entire negotiation period, the Conservative party, and the Brexiteers in particular, clung to their fantasy that the UK would be treated exactly the same as we are now. Even the production of the government’s own assessment papers, revealing the damage that even the softest Brexit would cause, barely altered the rhetoric. Britain would be ‘Great’ again, Britain would strike up new trade deals around the world, Britain could stand alone!

Read Sue Wilson’s full article in Impakter

Conversations with Europe

Conversations with Europe

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.

Read original ‘Conversations with Europe article…


British expats blast UK’s ‘lacklustre’ offer on Brexit rights

British expats blast UK’s ‘lacklustre’ offer on Brexit rights

UK citizens living in Europe have condemned the British government’s decision not to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, despite plans to maintain reciprocal healthcare rights and the ‘triple lock’ on pensions.

A 15-page policy paper published by the government on Monday, said prime minister Theresa May is seeking to maintain existing healthcare arrangements with the EU as well as guaranteeing the triple lock on pensions for the 472,000 UK citizens retired in the EU.

May also unveiled a new “settled status” for EU citizens living in the UK that will give applicants the same “indefinite leave to remain” status as many non-European nationals who have also lived in Britain for five years.

EU citizens resident in Britain will have to apply for an identity card after Brexit under Home Office proposals on their future rights.

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