Jean’s official questions and meetings
Here I outline the various actions I’ve taken as an individual MEP, both in Brussels and in London, to assure the rights of EU nationals in the UK and British nationals in other EU countries. These range from meetings with influential figures, to official questions to the EU civil service, important votes, and more.
I attended and met with participants of the European Parliament’s Public Hearing on the Situation and Rights of EU citizens in the UK. You can read my statement on this important Hearing here and in May’s e-news.
I submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the British Government on the issue of comprehensive sickness insurance. This relates to the submission made to the European Commission by my colleague Sophie In’T’Veld on 18th April and seeks information on the infringement procedure taken by the European Commission but from the UK Government rather than the European authorities.
I voted in favour of a strong Resolution from the European Parliament on Brexit which committed the European Parliament to upholding the rights of EU nationals in the UK.
I spoke in the European Parliament, to the Commissioner for Justice highlighting
the huge concern and stress arising from the uncertain and precarious situation
EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in other EU countries face as a
result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
I wrote to the European Commissioner for Justice on the
infringement procedures against the UK on the basis of their policy around the
need for comprehensive sickness insurance for economically non-active EU
nationals. This follows on from my Written Question to the European Commission
of 20th October 2016.
I hosted a meeting with a range of experts and professionals in the field of Freedom of Movement to discuss what kind of options there could be for EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in other EU countries. The speakers included Matthew Evans of the Aire Centre, Jill Rutter of British Future, Prof Bernard Ryan of the University of Leicester, Rob Young of the National Union of Students, Debra Williams of Brexpats and Roger Casale of New Europeans.
I submitted a Written Question to the European Commission raising concerns about the refusal of the Home Office to recognise the residence rights of EU nationals who are students and homemakers if they do not hold private healthcare insurance. The Commissioner responsible confirmed that infringement proceedings were ongoing against the UK government.
Jean’s work with the European Parliament Citizens’ Taskforce
In January I became part of a cross-party European Parliament Citizens’ Taskforce which is investigating the British Government’s treatment of EU nationals living in the UK who have applied for citizenship or permanent residency since the Brexit vote. This Taskforce meets regularly, shares information, and jointly lobbies the European Commission, British Government and other relevant stakeholders to end the uncertainty. Here is a list of our joint actions thus far, starting with the most recent.
The Taskforce released its initial response to the British Government's proposals for protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK post-Brexit
As part of the Taskforce I submitted a Written Question to the European Commission calling for information on the infringement proceedings against the UK on the application of Free Movement Directive, demanding to know why a decision has not been reached on this issue.
The European Parliament Citizens’ Taskforce requested full public access to documents on the infringement proceedings against the UK on the application of the Free Movement Directive. The Commission refused to grant such access and therefore we have submitted a complaint to the European Ombudsman to investigate the case and (hopefully) decide that disclosure is appropriate. We believe that EU citizens have the right to know why the Commission stated that the UK breaches EU law and why further action has not been taken to conclude the proceedings.
I co-signed a Question to the European Commission on the concerning reports that local and national authorities in the EU seem to be acting as if EU citizenship rights have been “suspended” for UK citizens in anticipation of Brexit. I tasked the European Commission to ensure that the EU citizenship rights of UK citizens living in other EU countries will be respected and effectively guaranteed during the full period that the UK is a member of the EU.
My colleague on the European Parliament Citizens’ Taskforce, Sophie In’T’Veld, requested the documents relating to infringement procedures against the UK on the basis of its application of the Freedom of Movement Directive 2004/38/EC from the European Commission. This procedure was launched in 2011 as the British Government claimed that those who were economically inactive for a period of time while living in the UK needed to take out private health insurance. Since this was never made clear to EU nationals coming to the country and the European Union felt the policy was incompatible with EU Freedom of Movement rules, it began legal action against the UK Government which is ongoing.
Following the triggering of Article 50, the European Parliament Citizens’ Taskforce again called for the rights of EU nationals in the UK and British nationals in other EU countries to be the assured as a priority. I also voted in favour of a strong Resolution from the European Parliament on Brexit which reiterated the same commitment.
As part of the European Parliament’s Citizens’ Taskforce I wrote to the UK Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill calling on him to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK post-Brexit and to clear up the issue of comprehensive sickness insurance, which the Government has been using as a means to deny residency rights.
Following on from the oral question of 13th February, on the 9th March the European Parliament Citizens’ Taskforce sent a letter to the European Commissioner for Justice asking for a more satisfactory response to the question, as it was felt that the response failed to address the issues raised.
During the plenary session of week 13th February the European Parliament Citizens’ Taskforce asked an oral question to the Commission on the issue of breaches of rights to freedom of movement on the part of the UK.
The newly founded Taskforce wrote to Theresa May to raise the lack of regard being shown by the Home Office to EU citizens living and working in the UK, while also expressing concern for UK expatriates living in the EU.