Jude Kirton-Darling MEP will today participate in a European Parliament hearing on the situation and rights of EU Citizens in the UK as well as UK citizens in the EU. The hearing will be attended by figures such as Guy Verhofstadt and Michel Barnier, the Parliament’s and Commission's respective lead Brexit negotiators, as well as Anne-Laure Donskoy of the group ‘The 3 million’ who represents EU citizens in the UK.
The hearing was set up in the wake of a spate of attacks on EU nationals living in the UK following referendum last year. It is organised jointly by the Petitions, Employment, Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committees and will hear from experts from civil society and examine petitions brought forward by citizens on the issue of Brexit and its effects.
Jude will use the hearing to air concerns raised in the ‘Plan for the North East’ report that has been undertaken by the North-East Labour MEPs.
As reported in POLITICO, the UK government was offered the opportunity to attend this hearing and state its case regarding the current situation of EU citizens in the UK but has declined to do so.
Jude Kirton-Darling, MEP for the North-East of England said:
“Today’s hearing gives voice to the concerns of ordinary British citizens and their families on their loss of rights through Brexit - to travel, study, work and settle elsewhere in the EU. That so many ordinary citizens have petitioned the European Parliament on this issue speaks volumes of how much British people value their rights as Europeans whether they live in the rest of the EU or within the UK.
“Our work with citizens to formulate a plan for the North East showed that people want action to secure their rights and are worried about a rise in racist and xenophobic incidents. There was a 46% increase in hate crime in the week after the referendum and many EU citizens now feel more fearful about life in the UK. This is potentially very damaging to our economy, society and culture
“Labour MEPs will continue to work for and champion the voices of ordinary people, and we will continue to pressure the UK government throughout the Brexit process to listen to and heed their concerns. It is hugely disappointing that the UK government has opted not to attend this important hearing and to allay citizens’ fears. People’s lives should not be bargaining chips in any negotiations over the future relationship between the UK and EU. For the many UK citizens who are worried about their futures post-Brexit, the refusal to attend is a snub to their legitimate concerns".