A candlelit vigil on citizens’ rights took place outside Europe House in London on Friday evening.
Earlier in the day, a photo call took place at Parliament Square. Both were organised by New Europeans, a London and Brussels based NGO campaigning for citizens´ rights after Brexit.
Writer, actor and political activist Kate Willoughby, who performs as the suffragette Emily Davison, and Roger Casale, founder and CEO of New Europeans and former Labour MP, unveiled a banner carrying the slogan: Don’t make citizens pay price of Brexit.
The events aimed at drawing the attention to the rights of 3,2 EU citizens in the UK and 1,2 Britons in EU-27.
The withdrawal agreement foresees that all concerned citizens will be issued residence documents but the application for a “settled status” is cumbersome. New Europeans has proposed that physical proof of residence in the form of a Green Card should be issued.
Two other issues at stake – voting rights and freedom of movement for citizens who move between the EU and UK post-Brexit – need still to be negotiated. The right of free movement is only guaranteed until the end of the transition period.
“This is a historic day for Britain and the EU, and we should not let it pass without reminding people watching that the rights of EU citizens in Briton and Britons in the EU are still not fully guaranteed,” Roger Casale said.
Rafal Skarbek, a Polish equality community champion, has cycled 2,000 kilometres from his home in Somerset to Santiago de Compostela in Spain to raise funds for the New Europeans Green Card campaign.
“I met hundreds of Britons in France and Spain. I thought that only Europeans living in UK are scared of Brexit consequences, but I realised the British in Europe are scarred too. Everyone is panicking because they established their life’s over there,” he said in London.