Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East of England, is taking part in a European Parliament hearing this Wednesday on the rights of UK citizens post-Brexit.
The hearing, organised by the Petitions Committee, will consider petitions brought forward by people in the UK who want to retain their EU citizenship rights after Brexit.
This comes after formal negotiations between the UK and the European Union officially began on Monday, as well as in the aftermath of a General Election which saw the possibility of a Hard Brexit diminish.
Jude, who is a member of the Petitions Committee, has been looking at a number of petitions submitted by British citizens concerned about their right to be part of the European Union being revoked. They requested for the EU to consider the rights of the 48% who voted in favour of remaining.
Last month, a similar hearing was set up in the wake of a spate of attacks on EU nationals living in the UK following the referendum in 2016. Jude used the joint committee meeting to air concerns raised in the ‘Plan for the North East’ report that was undertaken by the North East Labour MEPs.
Jude said: “We have seen a high volume of petitions from ordinary British citizens who worry that an important part of their life will be taken away from them when Brexit is completed. Understandably so, as the UK government has done very little to allay these concerns. We’re hoping that the official start of Brexit negotiations will provide more clarity and some concrete answers on life after Brexit.
“In the meantime, Labour MEPs will continue to represent the voices of ordinary people and push the agenda in the European Parliament, so that not a single right is revoked. But the UK government must compromise and follow suit, so that a deal that works for everyone can be secured.”
The meeting will also hear from Durham European Law Institute Director – Professor Eleanor Spaventa – who will be giving evidence in front of the Committee on the impact of Brexit in relation to the right to petition.
Prof. Spaventa said: “The reports looks at the changes that will occur post-Brexit for EU and UK citizens. In particular it focuses on the right to reside for UK citizens in the rest of the EU, and for EU citizens in the UK. It identifies the risks posed in the absence of an agreement and it makes policy suggestions to address those risks.
“If no deal is reached, then EU citizens in the UK are particularly at risk. We could see the imposition of visa requirements, a minimum income or investment requirement for individuals, including for pensioners, even on EU citizens already in the UK at the time of Brexit. UK citizens in the EU might face similar issues unless they are treated in a special way due to their former status as EU citizens. Many could see their rights to healthcare disappear too, which could have a great impact on those who have retired to EU countries.”