Brexit means Brexit means Chaos

Citizens’ rights should be guaranteed, regardless of Brexit

D66 MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld and MP Kees Verhoeven are adamant that European leaders should guarantee the rights of British and Dutch nationals ahead of Brexit.

As we have reported earlier the spectre of failed Brexit negotiations between the EU and Britain means that the status of millions of people are at risk. They have no idea as to whether they will be unceremoniously thrown out of the country between now and a year’s time. No one seems to have any answers, least of all the UK government which still acts as if by magic, Brexit will come and we will all have a pot of gold at the end of our beds. Will Brits in Utrecht keep their jobs?

The two politicians feel that it is high time some assurances were in place for these people now that a no-deal Brexit seems to be approaching fast. After 45 years of British EU membership, it is only six months until Brexit and negotiations are failing.

whatever the outcome, European government leaders must separate the fundamental civil rights of ordinary Europeans from the negotiations on trade and the economy.

We know that alarm bells are ringing for 3.5 million EU citizens in the UK and 1.5 million Britons living elsewhere in the EU. Five million people are standing helplessly by as a no-deal Brexit looms with all the disruption to personal lives this could entail.

These people have chosen to live, work or study in a different EU member state than the one stated in their passports and have contributed hugely to their adopted countries. A large number were born with these rights. They had families, bought a house, started a business. Now all this is in danger. The European Parliament will only agree to a Brexit deal if the civil rights of all Europeans who are affected by Brexit are guaranteed.

However, if no deal is reached the European Parliament will have no say in this and it will be up to individual national governments to decide. That is why the EU and European government leaders should declare that the rights of British citizens in the EU are secure. A great start would be to follow the German example and allow dual nationality for those trapped by Brexit. That would not only help Brits in Europe, but it would also be in the interest of over 100,000 Dutch citizens currently living in the UK. Europe, as the stronger negotiation partner, needs to take the lead and force the UK Government to see sense. A tall order indeed as factional fighting amongst them has stopped any realistic negotiations so far. All the people affected by Brexit have wanted is more clarity. All they have got is… nothing. They should have been heard much sooner and it is time they were offered a way out of the pathetic mess, and maybe to show that European citizenship is not an empty concept that can be taken away at the stroke of a pen. Civil rights should be guaranteed, deal or no deal. Brexit equals Chaos.

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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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