British in Europe has responded to the European Commission’s legal proposals to prepare for the U.K. crashing out of the EU without a Brexit deal, with Jane Golding, Co-Chair of British in Europe addressed three main points.
1. A rough landing for British nationals on the continent
"We are appalled to learn that, while aviation and financial services merit an extension of current agreements in the case of no deal, people do not. This means that there will be no soft landing for over 1.2mn British nationals living on the continent who will have to adjust to life as third-country nationals overnight once all their EU rights have been stripped from them."
2. Commission plans: a barebones proposal for people
"In practical terms with only 100 days to go, the Commission is merely asking the EU 27 to make sure we can still be considered legally resident on 30 March 2019 and stand ready to issue documents to provide evidence of that. This will be a massive and overwhelming task in some countries. After that, the EU 27 would then be asked to process applications for permanent third country national documents by the end of 2019."
3. EU and UK must safeguard citizens’ rights now
"We have long argued that the withdrawal agreement is flawed and far from perfect but does offer some protection for Brits and EU citizens in the UK, the vast majority of whom were denied a vote on their own future in the 2016 Referendum. Once again, we urge the EU and UK to implement what they painstakingly negotiated last year whatever happens. This is because unilateral guarantees won’t safeguard the lives of 5 million people. With the spectre of no deal rising again, so are people’s anxiety levels and it is wrong that citizens’ rights were not guaranteed at the outset. Now British citizens have a been given a clear message that if there is no deal they are on their own, abandoned by the UK government and the EU. This is a far cry from the negotiators’ promises that we would be able to live our lives as before. And it is an even further one from the blithe but false promises that were made by Vote Leave that the Vienna Convention would protect us come what may. Above all, at a time when EU citizens across the EU are questioning whether the European project is relevant to their lives, is this the legacy that the European Parliament and other institutions want to take into the European Parliament elections and beyond, as a warning to future mobile citizens?"
British in Europe is the largest coalition group of British citizens living and working in Europe. It is comprised of ten core groups across the continent representing a membership of around 35,000 Brits working together to stand up for the rights of UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK.