Brexit is showing more twists and turns than the average Shyamalan film.
While the wrangling and posturing continue, concerns remain over the EU nationals working in the UK and the “Brexpats”, the British nationals based in other EU countries. This is understandably causing anxiety and frustration.
But these are early days in the grand scheme of things, and we have the power to shape Brexit – hard, soft or bendy. As such, there are growing calls to ensure that the rights of residents are recognised.
the3million, a movement started in Bristol to preserve the rights of EU and British citizens alike after Brexit, published a new research report in July to promote reform and help allow EU citizens in the UK to continue to live normally post-Brexit.
The report shows how the “permanent residence” application process creates barriers for EU citizens to claim residence rights after Brexit.
Also in July, the British Council – an organisation with considerably more clout – addressed a set of eminently sensible recommendations to UK and EU leaders, Our Shared European Future. Among the recommendations was a call to guarantee post-Brexit residency rights for both British and EU citizens.
Other recommendations included:
- A post-Brexit agreement for education, culture, science and research to facilitate movement
- Cultural and educational permits to allow people to move with ease between the UK and EU countries
- Guarantees that UK institutions and individuals remain eligible to access programmes such as Erasmus+, Horizon 2020, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and Creative Europe
- The preservation of opportunities to work and study abroad
- Proactive engagement of youth in Brexit decision-making
The British Council’s recommendations are endorsed by more than 450 institutions across Europe, including the British Museum, Tate and V&A in London; the Creative Industries Federation; the National Gallery Prague; and CERN (it was CERN that led to the creation of Sir Tim Berners Lee’s World Wide Web, with the rest being history as they say).
Individuals in support comprise leading scientists and artists, including that man off the telly: Professor Brian Cox, Sir David Chipperfield, Mark Wallinger, Claudie Haigneré and Professor Iain Stewart.
And you can endorse these too, of course, by signing the British Council petition here.
It’s absolutely vital – and common sense – that EU residents in Britain and British nationals in Europe are heard and accounted for, fairly and with respect.