The British proposal concerning how European citizens will be treated in the United Kingdom, after the country leaves the European Union (EU) is both “a cold shower” and “far from what citizens have every right to expect.”
A group of MEPs asserted this, on Monday, in a forum published in several European media outlets. The group includes the Belgians Guy Verhofstadt (Open Vld) and Philippe Lamberts (Ecolo).
“The British government is proposing that the day after Brexit (when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, editor’s note) European nationals will have the status of ‘third-country nationals.’ The nine MEPs flag up that such citizens would have fewer rights than the British living throughout the EU would actually have.” They go on, “The British proposal carries a real risk of creating second-class citizenship. It even contradicts the ‘Leave’ camp manifesto. This promised to treat European citizens ‘no less favourably than at present.’”
The MEPs – amongst whom are the heads of the Liberal (PPE), the Socialists, the radical left and the Green parties – also stress their wish that British and European citizens should be able to enforce their rights, “through a mechanism in which the EU’s ECJ (European Court of Justice) plays a full part.” The British Prime Minister Theresa May indicated at the end of last month to her European counterparts that only “(the) highly respected British courts” would be able to settle these disputes.
The European Parliament will decide upon the agreement regulating Britain’s exit from the EU. The nine MEPs say, “We wish to establish an ambitious and progressive agreement. We wish also to assert that sufficient progress, particularly around citizenship and the financial agreement, are necessary before we can define the new relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom.” They also state that they oppose any postponement of the Brexit deadline, fixed for March 30th, 2019.
Guy Verhofstadt has been appointed head of the European Parliament Brexit steering group. Several MEPs who are also members of this group have co-signed the forum document, which amongst other publications, was published in Le Soir.
The Brussels Times