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'Take care of citizens' rights first': BiE contributes evidence to European Parliament hearing

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Brunel’s Britain in Europe think-tank (BiE) has called upon the European Parliament and UK government to end uncertainty over the rights of UK citizens in Europe and European citizens in the UK, as a matter of urgency.

Concerns over EU citizenship rights after Brexit must be addressed immediately, BiE’s director Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos said this week in an address to the European Parliament in Brussels.

The EU and the UK government should negotiate a deal on the situation and rights of citizens as a priority, before starting further Brexit talks, MEPs also said this week at a joint hearing, organised by the committees of Civil Liberties, Employment and Petitions.

Most MEPs underlined the “moral duty” to end the uncertainty created for both EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals in the EU since the June referendum. Parliament´s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said the House might adopt a resolution on this issue, probably after the summer recess.

Addressing the hearing, Dr Giannoulopoulos called upon the European Parliament to use this resolution to unilaterally recognise the rights of UK citizens in Europe, as mandated by international human rights law, notably Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

"Unless the European Parliament does so", he stressed, "it risks causing irreparable damage upon the right to private and family life of 4.5 million Europeans, bringing disrepute to the system of human rights protection in Europe and overwhelming the administration of justice in affected EU countries.

“The EU would also bring its own law into disrepute, to the extent that this incorporates the rights enshrined in the ECHR and ECtHR jurisprudence".

Dr Giannoulopoulos added that "analysis of ECtHR case law supports the conclusion that the forced deportation of EU citizens from a member state (non-UK EU citizens in the UK or UK citizens in the EU) would trigger Article 8 ECHR" and that "discrimination on grounds such as nationality, length of residence or level of income will also bring into play Article 14 of the ECHR".

In speaking at the European Parliament, Dr Giannoulopoulos reflected on a report that he co-authored with the 'New Europeans' group, which was submitted as evidence at the hearing. BiE have launched a new collaboration with the group on the issue of EU citizenship rights.

In drafting the relevant section of the report, Dr Giannoulopoulos drew upon evidence submitted by BiE experts, and external participants that have contributed to recent BiE debates and research events, all agreeing with the principle that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides considerable level of protection to residence rights of EU citizens.

The report has now been published at the European Parliament (LIBE Committee) website.

Key extracts are also available on the BiE blog

(Main image: Representatives from BiE and New Europeans present their report to Sophie In't Veld MEP, member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs)

Reported by:

Sarah Cox, Media Relations
sarah.cox@brunel.ac.uk