Following representations by New Europeans, the Ecolo-Groen Ixelles group has tabled a draft motion to guarantee the rights of British citizens living in Belgium in the event of a no deal Brexit.
The motion will be debated at a full Council meeting in Ixelles on Thursday, 24 January.
The representations were made in a letter to Councillor Bertrand Wert from New Europeans. an award-winning pro-European civil rights organistion based in Ixelles.
In the letter, Roger Casale, Secretary General of New Europeans said, “We respectfully call on the Ixelles council, our local authority, to petition the Belgian government, and ask that the rights of UK citizens in Belgium be guaranteed unilaterally in the event of a no deal Brexit.
British citizens in the EU are EU citizens and they should not be left to fight for their rights alone.
We have come together in Europe for the better and the worse and now is a time for EU citizens and those who represent us to stand together.”
— Edward Robinson (@ejcrobinson) January 23, 2019
As Councillor Betrand Wert set out after tabling the motion:
“I have tabled a motion on behalf of the Ecolo Ixelles and Groen Elsene groups calling on the Belgian federal government to guarantee the rights of British citizens living in Belgium at the same level as before they left the EU, in the event of UK leaving the European Union without a deal.”
New Europeans took this action following announcements by the Dutch and Luxembourg governments that they would unilaterally guarantee the rights of British residents in the event of a no deal Brexit.
Thank you @ejcrobinson also for sharing your testimonial https://t.co/PKIUU9bASS that gives a real example of something #Brexit that seems so unreal and distant to us, but that will have real effects on our community #Ixelles #Brussels #empathy #solidarity🤝@ecoloxl @GroenElsene
— Bertrand Wert (@bertrandwert) January 24, 2019
Although the Belgian government has expressed its intent to support British citizens post Brexit, no specifc actions have yet been proposed to gurantee all their current rights should the UK leave the EU without a deal.
Speaking about why New Europeans has taken this action, Roger Casale said, ”The key point we want to make of course is that what happens to Britons in Ixelles post Brexit is not just a matter to be discussed between Theresa May and Michel Barnier.
It also needs to be the subject of a conversation between the Mayor of Ixelles and the PM of Belgium .
Why? Because Britons in Ixelles are EU citizens and therefore the Mayor’s constituents
Both the Mayor and the EU institutions (including the Council of Ministers) have a direct responsibility to safeguard rights.”