EU/UK citizen’s rights fall inside Tusk’s political activities – Sant
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Maltese MEP Alfred Sant has said that even if the European Commission is the negotiator in the Brexit negotiations – the European Council is fully involved in the process and, therefore, the EU/UK citizens rights fall well inside the scope of Donald Tusk’s political activities.
This reaction was made by Dr Sant after the President of the European Council failed to answer queries filed by 21 MEPs from five different political groups at the European Parliament on the recognition of citizenship rights of UK citizens in other EU Member States and agreement on non-UK EU citizens’ rights in the UK.
Mr Tusk said he was not in a position to answer the question since Brexit negotiations falls outside the scope of his political activities.
The Parliamentary Question was initiated by Julie Ward S&D and co-signed by other MEPs, including Maltese MEP Alfred Sant.
Dr Sant quoted the European Council guidelines on the withdrawal of UK from the EU, issued in March 2017, during which the European Council stated that:
“The right for every EU citizen, and of his or her family members, to live, to work or to study in any EU Member State is a fundamental aspect of the European Union. Along with other rights provided under EU law, it has shaped the lives and choices of millions of people.
Agreeing reciprocal guarantees to safeguard the status and rights derived from EU law at the date of withdrawal of EU and UK citizens, and their families, affected by the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union will be the first priority for the negotiations.
Such guarantees must be effective, enforceable, non-discriminatory and comprehensive, including the right to acquire permanent residence after a continuous period of five years of legal residence. Citizens should be able to exercise their rights through smooth and simple administrative procedures.”
The MEPs told Mr Tusk that since the UK referendum, citizens of EU Member States in the UK and UK citizens in other EU Member States have experienced feelings of uncertainty, anxiety and distress about the situation facing them and their families.
They said that “the deep concern of citizens have been highlighted by ‘New Europeans’ and other civil society organisations, regarding their ability to enjoy the rights that derive from their EU citizenship, including the right to remain in the Member States in which they are resident, and retaining their right to private and family life, as enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.”
The MEPs went on to say that “there is significant regret that individuals are being treated as ‘bargaining chips’ in the Brexit negotiations.”
The MEPs questioned, “irrespective of the UK’s current or future position, will the President advocate to the European Council that it should commit to maintaining EU citizenship rights for UK citizens in other EU Member States, and that these shall remain in place regardless of the outcome of negotiations with the UK?”
“Will the President also advocate that guarantees on non-UK EU citizens’ rights in the UK should be subject to a separate agreement with the UK and not be influenced by the outcome of negotiations on other subjects?” asked the MEPs.
The MEPs represent the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D), the Greens European Free Alliance (Verts/ALE), The Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE) and the European People’s Party (EPP).
The Parliamentary Question was signed by Julie Ward (S&D), Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE), Helga Trüpel (Verts/ALE), Paloma López Bermejo (GUE/NGL), Catherine Bearder (ALDE), Bart Staes (Verts/ALE), Alfred Sant (S&D), Eugen Freund (S&D), Alex Mayer (S&D), Tomáš Zdechovský (PPE), Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL), Heidi Hautala (Verts/ALE), Ricardo Serrão Santos (S&D), Jean-Paul Denanot (S&D), Ernest Urtasun (Verts/ALE), Valentinas Mazuronis (ALDE), Tania González Peñas (GUE/NGL), Hilde Vautmans (ALDE), Pascal Durand (Verts/ALE), Viorica D?ncil? (S&D) and Kate?ina Kone?ná (GUE/NGL).