Protecting EU Citizenship throughout Brexit

JEF Europe  | Young European Federalists | PC2     

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Protecting EU Citizenship  throughout Brexit 

Resolution adopted by the Congress of JEF Europe – Malta – November 2017


JEF Europe,


A.    Acknowledging the vote of the British people on 23rd June 2017 to leave the European Union, the activation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union by the British government on 29th March 2017 and the ongoing EU-UK negotiations with a view to the UK's exit from the EU on 30th March 2019;


B.    Stressing the unalienable nature of the rights all citizens of the EU possess;


C.   Reiterating that the free movement of workers in the EU is a fundamental principle of European law enshrined in Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and developed by EU secondary legislation, such as Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 which requires equal treatment in regard to social advantages, and the Case law of the Court of Justice;


D.   Stating that the main aspects of EU free movement rights encompass residence rights, equal treatment of nationals residing in the host Member State. This includes access to social benefits and health care in the host Member State, as well as recognition of professional qualifications obtained in any EU Member State, but also other rights deriving from EU citizenship such as to vote or on consular protection abroad;


E.    Deploring the UK's unclear and ambiguous stance on the issue, as well as several actions such as the dozens of deportation letters sent to EU-nationals in August 2017[1] and the lack of commitment in assuring EU-citizens' rights with plans to make EU-citizens merely eligible for a second-class “settled status”;


F.    Supporting the EU in having set up a two-phase negotiation process that will make substantial progress a prerequisite for negotiations on the future of EU-UK relations;


G.   Reminding that these negotiations are most directly impacting the lives of 2 million EU-27, 1 million British as well as their families and that therefore their enshrined human rights must be respected so they are not a mere “negotiating chip”;


H.   Particularly worried about the enormous impact Brexit will have for millions of students and young workers who find themselves confronted with an unbearable amount of uncertainty literally deciding on their future, what are meant to be the formative years of their lives;


I.      Recalling that negotiations based on reciprocity are likely to result in citizen rights being negotiated down in order to reach the lowest common denominator, instead of allowing for the possibility to explore maximum positions.


J.    Recalling its resolution on “Strengthening Free Movement within the European Union” and firmly reaffirming the therein mentioned demands to strengthen free movement in Europe;


         JEF Europe, therefore;


1.    Asks the UK to commit to ensure the respect of the rights all EU citizens on its territory.


2.    Most vehemently rejects British plans to render EU citizens second class citizens in the UK;


3.    Urges both the EU and the UK to negotiate the British EU-Exit in the spirit of good faith, a transparent, pragmatic and timely manner as to give EU citizens the greatest certainty possible;


4.    Urges the EU to not move to the second phase of negotiations unless substantial progress for citizens' rights has been truly achieved;


5.    Demands a withdrawal agreement safeguarding the status and rights derived from Union law at the withdrawal date for EU citizens living in the UK as well as for UK citizens living in the EU- thus ensuring the same level of protection, covering, inter alia, their rights of entry and residence, equal treatment, access to benefits and the benefits of the EU social security coordination framework.


6.    Demands only to agree to a transition phase with a clear view of where it should lead and thus prevent dangerous procrastination to the detriment of EU citizens;


7.    Confirms that only the European Court of Justice is entitled to rule on EU-matters and thus should be the only court to rule on the final Brexit agreement;


8.    Asks the EU to keep ERASMUS open for British nationals and to set no restrictions whatsoever to educational institutions for them given that equal access is guaranteed to EU-citizens by the UK;


9.    Trusts that the UK exiting the EU will not further damage the mutual bonds of solidarity among the peoples of Britain and EU;


10.  Asks all European Institutions to take all necessary measures to prevent further political escalations resulting in other Member States leaving the EU or candidate countries, including the UK from being barred entry to the EU.