Joint Communiqué – UK grassroots groups -Where Now for Remain? conference
30 January 2020
Representatives of more than 150 grassroots groups met on 25 January 2020 in Central Hall, Westminster, London, to discuss the future of the pro-European movement in the UK, and have issued the following statement:
We are deeply saddened that the UK will formally leave the European Union on 31 January, which involves a loss of rights, access and influence. The UK’s departure was not of our choosing and will have a significant negative impact on our families, our businesses and our society.
We consider that Britain’s rightful place is in Europe alongside our friends and neighbours in the EU27, working in partnership with them in accordance with our shared values and principles, for the betterment of all countries.
Many of us were born with EU citizenship rights, or have known nothing else all our lives. We have only
ever known free movement across borders, with guaranteed rights to live, love, work, study, retire in 27 other EU countries. Some of us depend on those rights for our livelihoods. It is especially shocking that these rights are being stripped from us by our own government.
The UK’swithdrawal from the EU (Brexit) is not in the interestsof this country or of Europe as awhole. Losing our place at the decision-making table of one of the world’s three dominant political and economic blocs is deeply damaging to our country’s economy and reputation.
We note that in the recent election a majority voted for parties that want a second referendum (53 per cent of those who voted), and that polls in 2020 show a majority of the UK public would still prefer to stay in the EU, echoing most 2019 polls.
Brexit will not be done quickly. Creating new channels of cooperation and arrangements with the EU will take many years and the complexity of these arrangements could mask a lowering of standards and a weakening of rights. We believe that Britain will only maintain its current strong trading position by maintaining a close alignment with Europe.
We highlight the available evidence that calls into question the validity of the referendum campaign, which suggests it was exposed to foreign interference and funding from both Russia and the US.
We therefore agree on the following course of action: Close relationship with Europe
We will work towards building the closest possible relationship with our friends and neighbours in Europe.
We will uphold our shared European values, such as tolerance, openness, freedom, democracy and rule of law. We will stand up for human rights, consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights and Britain’s ongoing membership of the Council of Europe.
Safeguard Citizens’ Rights
We call for the rights of all British and EU citizens affected by Brexit, to be upheld.
We call on the European Parliament and British Parliament to ensure the implementation of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement is conducted according to the letter and spirit of the text, and in line with the European Parliament Resolution of 9 January 2020.
We further call on the UK government to use the transition period to reflect again on freedom of movement, and to work towards a resolution of the issues regarding citizens’ rights for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in EU 27 countries. We urge the UK government to automatically guarantee status for EU citizens and change the UK’s Settled Status scheme from one of application, to one of registration; for physical proof of status to be provided; and for their rights to stand for office and vote in local elections to be guaranteed.
Productive Economic and Trade Links
We call for Britain to maintain a close alignment with European standards in support of barrier-free trade.
We pledge to hold to account the Johnson government for its callous attitude towards child refugees, its hostile immigration policy, its reckless anti-business strategy, and its general disregard for the economic and social welfare of all British and EU citizens.
Transparency and Freedom of Information
We call for the release of the unredacted “Russia” report, a clampdown on the unlawful use of personal data, and legislative measures to prevent the spread of disinformation and hate speech.
Grassroots for Europe is a network of over 200 pro-European campaign groups located in towns and cities across the United Kingdom. Our network extends to groups that represent the interests of British citizens living in other EU Member States, and EU27 citizens in the UK. Our groups are absolutely committed to maintaining a close relationship with Europe. They are supported by many thousands of ordinary people, who include both British and EU27 citizens.
SIGNED by 120 UK CITIZENS’ GROUPS