martes, 23 de mayo de 2017

REPORT ON EUROCITIZENS MONTHLY MEETING (20/05/17)

On Saturday 20 May, EuroCitizens held its seventh monthly meeting in the Centro Gallego in central Madrid. Since we started the group last autumn, we have made huge steps forward. Not only has our membership base grown, but we have put ourselves on the map in terms of the media and made important progress in lobbying politicians both in Spain and, through the coalition British in Europe, in Brussels and Westminster.

    We began with an update on recent lobbying. EuroCitizens has met with senior politicians from the four major Spanish parties and last week a representative gave evidence at the Comisión Mixta on Brexit in the Spanish parliament, where our cause met a very sympathetic reception. This week (26/05) we will be meeting the Secretario de Estado para Asuntos Europeos in Madrid, another major breakthrough. As members of the coalition British in Europe we have met UK government officials and a junior minister. BiE has also had talks with MEPs and held a meeting with EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. In all these encounters, we have presented our demands: a ring-fenced agreement guaranteeing full lifetime EU citizenship rights for all European residents in Britain and UK nationals in the UK.   After briefly discussing voter registration and tactical voting in the UK general election, there were reports from our two sub-committees. The concert group (Música sin Fronteras) has secured a magnificent venue in central Madrid on June 24 (an emotive date) and the next step will be to sign up bands to perform. We are particularly looking for musicians that will appeal to a younger audience. After university exams finish, the education group will begin work on videos about the impact of Brexit on Spanish and British students.
   We are pleased to announce that EuroCitizens is now a legally registered association, an important milestone. We have a healthy bank balance but, with the concert and the videos, will have considerable outgoings, so any contribution is welcome. We reminded members of how our association works, with a committee that will come up for renewal at the end of this year. We aim to increase our numbers, and we would like to encourage our members to get other people to join, even friends and family members in the UK. There is no membership fee and any contributions are voluntary. We will be distributing flyers at upcoming events in Madrid such as the next performance of the Madrid players.
    
   Our key objectives for the next few months are 1) to work closely in the British in Europe coalition on UK and EU lobbying 2) to continue contacts with Spanish politicians and government 3) to increase awareness of the plight facing UK nationals in Spain and Spaniards resident in Britain 4) to widen our membership base
    It is clear that securing a good agreement on citizens' rights is not going to be easy and will not be resolved soon, so we must be ready for a long, hard struggle to avoid becoming the sacrificial victims of Britain's departure from the EU.


jueves, 18 de mayo de 2017

EUROCITIZENS INFORMA A LA COMISIÓN MIXTA SOBRE EL COSTE HUMANO DEL BREXIT


MADRID, 17 de mayo 2017: EuroCitizens, una asociación de ciudadanos británicos que viven, trabajan y estudian en España, y la coalición British in Europe, informaron hoy a los diputados del Congreso español sobre el gran impacto que puede tener el Brexit sobre las vidas de cientos de miles de personas. EuroCitizens transmitió a la Comisión Mixta que el papel de España es crítico dado el gran número de ciudadanos británicos residentes en el país. Los senadores y diputados expresaron su preocupacion por los derechos de la ciudadania y su apoyo unánime al labor de EuroCitizens.

 El informe:

miércoles, 17 de mayo de 2017

EUROCITIZENS WARNS SPANISH PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION OF POTENTIALLY 'CATASTROPHIC' LOSS OF CITIZENS' RIGHTS AFTER BREXIT

MADRID, May 17, 2017: EuroCitizens, an association of British citizens who live, work, and study in Spain and member of the coalition British in Europe, today told Spanish parliamentarians of the huge impact that Brexit could have on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Representatives of all of the political parties at the parliamentary committee hearing expressed their support for EuroCitizens' work and stressed that reciprocity should be to the benefit of people and that a "zero-sum game" of bargaining chips should be avoided at all costs.
 

Report of the hearing:

lunes, 8 de mayo de 2017

EUROCITIZENS AT THE INTERGENERATIONAL DEBATE ORGANISED BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

On Monday 8 May, the European Commission organised an intergenerational debate around the future of Europe at its Madrid Headquarters. Two representatives of EuroCitizens were invited to attend together with fifty-eight Spanish citizens drawn from all over Spain. The debate was moderated by the journalist María Ramírez with regular input from Jaume Duch, Spokesperson for and Director-General of Communication of the European Parliament.

   
   The audience was divided into two groups, one for the under-thirties and the other for older citizens, mainly 60+. In the event, there seemed little difference between the points made by both groups, with all their attention on the future of the Union and very little reminiscing about the past. However, it was clear that the older group’s opinions were clearly tinged by their experience of pre- and post-Accession Spain.

   All were enthusiastic about the European Union while quite open about its shortcomings. However, their focus was clearly on fixing the Union rather than leaving it. One of the problems the Union faces is that people are not always aware of which problems can be tackled by the EU and which ones are purely the responsibility of their own national governments, even though Brussels often ends up getting the blame when expectations are disappointed.

   There was a clear consensus that the EU needed to get closer to its citizens, possibly by working at the municipal level, through schools and through twinning projects. Indeed, this debate was organised with a view to reaching a more typical audience than more traditional events aimed at civil servants and politicians – “the same old faces”.

   Brexit was mentioned several times. It seemed that, while it was regretted, it had already been discounted and people want to get on with developing the European project. Jaume Duch made a point which was echoed by several other speakers: while people were initially worried by a domino effect post-Brexit, it has, in fact acted as a vaccine, making people aware of the true magnitude of a decision to leave the EU and less inclined to gamble away their future for reasons often not related to Europe at all. 
    One of the EuroCitizens representatives explained our demands to retain full citizenship rights and the need for any agreement to be ring-fenced. This elicited a very detailed response from Jaume Duch with a re-statement of the Commission’s point of view that an agreement on citizen’s existing rights was their first priority (although it takes two to tango). And that existing rights should be protected “until the end of their lives”.
The debate was streamed on youtube and can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjPGHaerD_w&list=PLNmP33ynWrSQZXyF7576s7-6TjMItTxTH&index=1&shuffle=169
. To see the debate from the very beginning, fast-forward ten minutes. To see Camilla Hillier Fry’s intervention and Jaume Duch’s reply go to 1h 20’30”

 Camilla Hillier-Fry of EuroCitizens (centre) with Dani Méndez of the Instituto Andaluz de Juventud, Erasmus at the University of Lancaster, and Clara Fajardo, of La Vanguardia and Café Babel, la revista europea de Sevilla
  
John Carrivick of EuroCitizens after the event 











EUROCITIZENS NEWSLETTER 09/05: WILL THIS BE OUR PENULTIMATE 'EUROPE DAY'?

   Today is Europe Day, a time to celebrate what the EU has done for Europe and its people. It is of particular relevance to the 1.2 million Britons in EU27 countries in danger of losing their European identity and rights. Last Europe Day, most of us paid little attention, as we took our citizenship for granted. This year, after the Brexit referendum in which most of us could not vote, we must take stock of what we have to lose from the UK's departure from the EU. And we must be ready to fight for our rights..... 
After that preamble, here is the EuroCitizens newsletter explaining what we have been up to and what our plans are: 
  Though the frenetic press activity around Clause 50 has died down, the last two or three weeks have been very busy. Perhaps the most important development has been the full incorporation of EuroCitizens into the British in Europe Coalition, with whom we are now in close touch via email, a document-sharing site and weekly conference calls. We reported how, after the 20 April with the Foreign Office and DExEU, the groups got together to plan future action together, particularly at a Spanish level. In many ways, the four Spanish groups are complementary. For example, Bremain has a large presence on the coast where most UK nationals live. They are particularly focused on UK lobbying and have mounted an effective campaign for voter registration and tactical voting in the 8 June General Election. EuroCitizens has a smaller member base with a different demographic, but our location in Madrid means that we are well located for lobbying of the Spanish government and national politicians as well as working with the national media.
  In the last few days, we have contacted and held meetings with senior politicians from the PP, PSOE and Ciudadanos (we are still working on Podemos). We have received a very sympathetic response from these three political parties who firmly back our campaign to maintain citizens' rights for both Spanish and British citizens. We have also received useful help from MEPs, in particular from Beatriz Becerra (ALDE). Our next aim is to meet government ministers and we have sent a letter to the foreign minister Alfonso Dastis.
  EuroCitizens is involved in the celebrations in Madrid around Europe Day (May 9). On Monday 8 May, two representatives took part in a debate organised by the European Commission and brought up issues related to citizens' rights and the need for the ring-fencing of any agreement in this area. Today another member of the group will participate in a round table about the challenges facing the EU.
  Our most important event this month will be our appearance on May 17 at the select committee in the Congreso de los Diputados dealing with the impact of Brexit. We will explain to senators and MPs the concerns of our members: the insecurity we have faced for nearly a year as well as the feeling that we are being used as bargaining chips. We will demand the maintenance of full citizenship rights for all Europeans and Britons legally resident before the UK's departure from the EU and for any agreement to be ring-fenced.
  At an internal level, two sub-committees have been set up. The education group is working on the impact of Brexit on education. The other group is looking into the possibility of organising a concert in late June or July, in order to raise awareness of our cause and of the threat to the music industry posed by Brexit (Música Sin Fronteras). Our next full-group meeting will be held on Saturday 20 May in the Centro Gallego (12h). We hope you can come.
 We would like to thank all members and sympathisers who have made financial contributions to the association (our paperwork is slowly wending its way through the appropriate bureaucratic channels) as well as those who have given their time and appeared in the media. Remember that, if you do have any time to give, please get in touch. We need all the help we can get to fight for our rights - which have been endangered by the actions of our own government.
    May we wish you a very happy.....  EUROPE DAY!  Let's hope that it's not the penultimate one we celebrate as Europeans.


lunes, 24 de abril de 2017

21/04: EUROCITIZENS MEETS MEP BEATRIZ BECERRA IN MADRID

Camilla Hillier-Fry (EuroCitizens) and Beatriz Becerra MEP (ALDE)
   Last Friday 21 April, EuroCitizens met Beatriz Becerra, MEP (ALDE) and member of the European Parliament task force for Brexit. We had a productive meeting in which we shared information and identified how we can work to help each other. Beatriz is also in close contact with The3Million and Españoles en el Reino Unido.
   The European Parliament task force is made up of various MEPs, from the UK, Spain and other countries, though they emphasise that their duty is to represent all European citizens and defend their rights. The EP task force has reported infractions of European citizens’ rights and discrimination by the UK government and has a newsletter which you can subscribe to by sending a mail to eucitizenstaskforce@gmail.com.
   Two key events organised by the Brexit task force are happening in May, and we have been invited (along with British in Europe, the pan-European association we work with) to participate if possible:
   On 11 May there is a EU citizens hearing in the European Parliament, organised by the commissions of Employment, Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and Petitions. The hearing will be streamed, nevertheless there will be the opportunity for members of the public to ask questions.
   On 23 May the Spanish MEP is visiting London. Beatriz Becerra will be travelling by EuroStar to London and meeting with Liberal Democrats, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and Españoles en el Reino Unido (and the Spanish Ambassador the next day).