The European Parliament will today debate the rights of EU citizens in the UK, following the tabling of a parliamentary question asking the Commission to report on the implementation of EU free movement law in the UK.
A cross-party alliance of MEPs named the "European Citizens Task Force" has been established to examine reports that the UK Home Office is using restrictive interpretation of the requirements of sufficient resources and the possession of health insurance cover in order to restrict the rights of EU citizens in the UK.
Sophie In't Veld, ALDE Vice -President and the initiator of the European Citizens Task Force in the European Parliament said ahead of the debate:
"Despite the result of the UK referendum on EU membership, the UK is a full member of the EU and therefore has to apply EU laws regarding free movement until the day of departure."
"Prime Minister May has stated "every single person - regardless of their background, or that of their parents - is given the chance to be all they want to be". How hollow these words sound, when nearly 5 million people are living in extreme anxiety about their future, their families and loved ones, their jobs and homes. "
"Mrs May is deliberately causing grief to people, by choosing to use them as pawns in her game of chess, as cannon fodder in her turf war."
"In the European Parliament, the cross party alliance of MEPs will do everything possible to support the people affected and to persuade the UK government, the European Commission and the Governments of other EU countries to offer real solutions, clarity and certainty to people who have been contributing loyally to the country they have been living in for many years."
Charles Goerens MEP, who has proposed that the EU offer associate citizenship to UK citizens who wish to maintain a link to the European Union said today;
"I have received many thousands of emails from UK citizens who feel they have lost their European identity since the Brexit vote, which is why I still believe the EU should offer associate citizenship to those who wish to maintain their links with the Union. In the meantime, it is vital the European Union also acts to defend the rights of its citizens living in the UK from any discriminatory behaviour by the UK authorities. "
Catherine Bearder MEP, a co-member of the European citizens taskforce commented;
"This debate today is about giving a voice to the almost 5 million EU and UK citizens who have been totally ignored by the Conservative Brexit Government since last June."
"Like many other MEPs, I receive heart felt emails from EU and UK citizens who feel like their lives has been turned upside down by the Brexit result. EU citizens who have made their home in the UK, pay and contribute to our society must be able to stay, no ifs and no buts."
"These are people's neighbours, colleagues and relatives - they are not political bargaining chips."