With a letter that features in the Guardian this morning, Britain in Europe calls upon the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, and all other political parties to offer immediate reassurance to all EU citizens living in the UK that they will be in no way adversely affected by exit negotiations with the EU once article 50 has been triggered.
The letter can be accessed online from the Guardian website here.
We republish the letter with the full list of signatories below:
The Britain in Europe think tank calls upon the Government and all other political parties to offer the strongest possible reassurance to all EU citizens living in the UK that they will in no way be adversely affected by exit negotiations with the EU once article 50 has been triggered, and that they can continue to plan their future in this country exactly as before.
The Government has a moral duty to alleviate as rapidly as possible the feelings of uncertainty, fear and alienation that the referendum vote has inevitably brought about in EU citizens living in the UK, and to take positive action to demonstrate to them that they are an integral part of British society and their contributions are highly valued. The message must be heard loud and clear that they remain a positive force for the UK.
With equal urgency, the Government must condemn the instances of extremist, racist and other criminal behaviour that we have witnessed since the referendum, and fully commit to a strategy that will prevent any discrimination against all non UK-nationals both now and in the future. In the specific case of EU citizens living in the UK, the Government must seek to safeguard all rights currently enjoyed by those citizens, rights that offer them exactly the same protections as British citizens. The deterioration of existing conditions targeting one group of citizens only must be avoided at all costs.
Statements by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, to the effect that it would be ‘unwise’ or ‘absurd’ to unilaterally promise EU nationals that they can stay in the UK, without the Government first negotiating with the other 27 EU countries, will only further exacerbate the anxieties of EU citizens about the future, and will cause yet more anger, division and distrust.
The argument put forward by May and Hammond is that Britain’s negotiating position will be weakened if assurances are now offered to EU citizens. Quite apart from the fact that it is unacceptable to use EU citizens living in the UK as bargaining chips, this argument runs the serious risk of making it more likely that other EU countries may be prompted to adopt a similar approach to UK citizens residing there.
What Theresa May and Philip Hammond are saying is tantamount to subjecting the around 3 million EU citizens in the UK – nearly 5 per cent of its population – to the threat of deportation, a situation unheard of in a Western democratic regime for as long as we can remember.
Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Brunel University London, founder of Britain in Europe
Prof Julia Buckingham, Vice Chancellor, Brunel University London
Sir Geoffrey Nice QC
Jeremy Roberts QC
Prof Julian Petley, Brunel University London
Prof Andrew George, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Brunel University London
Prof William Leahy, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Brunel University London
Prof James Knowles, College Vice Dean, Brunel University London
Prof Ilias Anagnostopoulos, Athens Law School and Chair, Hellenic Criminal Bar Association
Prof Ashley Braganza, Brunel University London
Prof Andrew Choo, City University
Scott Crosby, Advocate, Brussels
Dr Colin King, Sussex University
Paul Lashmar, Sussex University
Prof Valsamis Mitsilegas, Queen Mary University
Prof Javaid Rehman, Brunel University London
Prof Arad Reisberg, Head of Brunel Law School
Prof Paul Roberts, The University of Nottingham
David Rosen, Darlingtons Solicitors and Associate Professor, Brunel University London
Dr Katja Sarmiento-Mirwaldt, Brunel University London
Josie Welland, Lloyds PR Solicitors
Prof Alexandra Xanthaki, Brunel University London
Prof Benjam Zephaniah, Brunel University London