Donate to British in Europe
Citizens' rights advocacy during lockdown
On Monday 30 March the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee (EU/UK) met for the first time by teleconference. It was chaired by EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic and Michael Gove.

Dear Briton in Europe,

First, we hope that you and your families are well at this difficult time. If you are suffering from the virus, we wish you a speedy recovery.

Understandably, the health emergency has pushed citizens' rights down the agendas of the EU, the UK and Member States. However, there is some movement and British in Europe is working in the background, preparing for the time when the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement becomes a priority again. We are particularly worried that no move has been made to extend the eleven-month transition period; there is a risk that key implementation issues are rushed through to the detriment of Britons in the EU-26. We are also concerned about the impact of the emergency on UK citizens in Europe and how it might affect our ability to meet the economic and healthcare requirements for registration under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Our advocacy continues, albeit at a slower pace. Before Easter we wrote to the co-chairs of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee, Maros Sefcovic and Michael Gove, to ask for BiE and the3million to participate regularly in the specialised sub-committee on citizens' rights. We have been in frequent contact with the new UK Friendship Group of the European Parliament, led by German MEP Terry Reintke, about the organisation of a conference on citizens' rights. We are also in touch with the Foreign Office about issues such as the economic and healthcare requirements for registration mentioned above.

The BiE legal team continues to assess the potential for legal action on the loss of our EU citizenship rights. We are aware of some litigation which is under way and a new case which is being considered. There are a number of obstacles that the applicants will need to overcome in order to be successful, but we are monitoring developments with interest and look forward to learning more about the substance of the case in course, once the application has been made to the European Court.

Finally, we are busy with reorganisation; we have changed our video conferencing platform and are working on a move to AssoConnect, a platform specially designed for NGOs that should make our lives much easier. We are holding bi-monthly conference calls with our affiliate groups in the EU. See below a round-up of the fantastic work being done by our teams in different member states.

Take care and best wishes,

BiE Steering Group

PS: Our Gofundme crowdfunder remains open. Our thanks to those who have donated over the last couple of months.

AROUND EUROPE: the activities of BiE groups

Our coalition has around thirty active groups. This enables us to pass on key information to Britons in Member States, for example our recent campaign explaining the implications of the Withdrawal Agreement. Our wide reach also means that we can identify issues affecting UKinEU in many different countries before raising them during our meetings with the Foreign Office, the European Commission and with MPs at Westminster and MEPs in the European Parliament.


Engagement of BiE groups with Member States is currently on hold, especially in the most heavily affected countries like Italy and Spain. However, in the last month, there has been some contact and a certain amount of movement in other places like The Netherlands and Germany.

Two country groups have seen spectacular growth in membership over the last four weeks: British in Portugal (up 300 members to nearly 3,000) and British in Greece (up 600 members to nearly 3,000). This is thanks to the great work of people like Tig James and Rory Stewart (BiP) and Julia Cross (BiGr) who have made their groups the go-to places for British residents dealing with problems relating to the health emergency. 

As mentioned above, British in Europe is gathering information about the impact of the crisis on the ability of UK citizens to meet the economic requirements for registration, particularly in countries with constitutive processes which require people to re-apply for a new status rather than being assigned it automatically. Particulary worries have been flagged up in Greece (healthcare requirements) and in Austria and France (income requirements). Please get in touch with your country groups if you have any concerns.

If you are not yet registered in a BiE country or a pan-European group, you can find a full list here:
Hilary Benn has been a great supporter of British in Europe and the3million in our struggle for citizens' rights. Here he recognises our contribution and explains how our role will continue throughout the implementation period of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Protecting families at risk due to COVID-19

British in Europe was a co-signatory of a letter to the Home Secretary Priti Patel on 8 April about the situation of people seeking to remain in the UK as the partner or spouse of a British citizen or of a settled resident. We asked her to take urgent action to protect families at risk of being split up because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

As Britons in Europe we are only too familiar with this fear, as many of us are still waiting to learn about the requirements for re-registering in our host countries. And, of course, we would also be affected if we wanted (or had to) return to the UK with our non-EU partners or spouses, or with our EU partners or spouses after the end of transition.

Letter from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and 22 other organisations to the Home Secretary.
Copyright © 2020 British in Europe, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp