02 Oct GUE/NGL Roundtable on Aquired Rights
GUE/NGL Roundtable on Aquired Rights –
28th June 2017
On 28 June, members of GUE/NGL within the European Parliament met with representatives of PODEMOS (Spain), Syriza (Greece) and RAZEM (Poland) to discuss the impact of Brexit on the living conditions of EU citizens in the UK and British EU citizens in the EU member states. At the invitation of Barbara Spinelli (Independent / Italy) and Helmut Scholz (DIE LINKE / Germany), respectively Vice-Chair and member of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, participants, together with guests from “The 3Million” and “The British in Europe,” had an intensive exchange of views of the recently started negotiations on shaping the civil rights within the future relations between the EU and Great Britain and the concrete proposals already on the negotiating table.
The participants agreed that their consent to the outcome of the running negotiations would largely depend on the extent that the interests of the affected citizens are fully respected by the counterparts. Reference was made to the glaring shortcomings of the negotiation proposal released on 26th June by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May. This proposal is in its content very vague and does not provide reliable information on the protection and persistence of the existing acquired rights. According to the participants, it is irresponsible to use the living conditions of the citizens concerned as a bargaining chip and to postpone clear decisions to the conclusion of the final agreement between the Union and the UK. The agreement on the citizen’s right must be imperatively ring-fenced from the rest of the negotiations, in order to give a complete legal certainty to the EU citizens living in the UK as well as to the UK nationals living in the Union, and to give it in the short-term.
The participants pointed out that even the EU side currently does not appear to reflect the entire package of acquired rights. In particular, they expressed deep scepticism about the principle – enshrined in the Council’s Guidelines – according to which “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”: a formula that can become a trap, making the agreement on rights conditional to the outcomes of the other negotiating chapters.
The participants agreed to continue the exchange of experiences and to examine common ways to increase the impact and reach of the efforts to defend the immediate interests of all the citizens concerned during the Brexit negotiations, in the UK as well as in the EU member states. This would include the necessity to increase awareness on these issues within the population of the EU member states.