Failure by the UK and EU to secure immediate safeguards for transnational EU citizens is causing psychological harm and is a potential violation of human rights.
This can and must be stopped now by unilateral action on both sides independently of any decision to proceed to the next stage of negotiations.
The EU has made it clear that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” and that there can be no ring-fencing of a deal on citizens’ rights.
So an agreement to proceed to the next stage of negotiations does little to alleviate the uncertainty felt by 5m EU27 citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU now.
Most of the rights of British citizens resident in Europe are considered “outside the scope” of this preliminary agreement and remain subject to the outcome of the next phase of negotiations.
We renew our call to the European Council to recognise that the EU has a duty of care towards British citizens in the EU who are still EU citizens.
Independently of the negotiations, the Council should now move to protect the rights of UK citizens in the EU by requesting a draft directive from the Commission to secure the rights of UK nationals in the EU on human rights grounds.
We renew our call to the UK government to bring forward now the legislation it will use in the forthcoming Immigration Bill to secure the rights of EU27 citizens in the UK.
We call on the European Parliament to renew its pledge to veto any final deal which does not ensure the status quo in relation to citizens’ rights and to demand that measures needed to secure the rights of Britons in Europe must be taken now.
The preliminary withdrawal agreement on citizens rights must then be updated to secure in perpetuity all the rights of EU27 citizens in the UK and Britons in the EU on the date the UK leaves the EU.
New Europeans and the Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Europe will hold the second meeting of its standing conference on the human rights impact of Brexit in London on 16 March 2018. The first meeting took place in Brussels on 17 November.