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EU citizens are not political bargaining chips - Catherine Bearder MEP Speech

Catherine Bearder MEP speech in full:

Firstly, my thanks go to Sophie in’t Veld,

A D66 MEP who’s helped with this issue.

This Union of sovereign states has been clear over the years that the rights of their citizens are important and to be protected,

With mutual recognition of qualifications, agreements on health and pension rights and so on.

Like many other MEPs I receive heart felt emails from citizens living in the UK and across Europe.

There are 1000s of EU citizens in the UK.

They’ve paid their taxes,
Paid into our pensions,
and they’re paying down our debts,

They contribute to our society and our economy.

Threats from Mrs May’s government must be stopped now,

No ifs. No buts.

They’re doctors, nurses, shopkeepers, students, teachers and others.

They are NOT political bargaining chips.

There are many examples,

There’s the Romanian electrician forced to resign after threats and bullying.

There’s the Italian beautician who’s been resident for 20 yrs, married to a Brit threatened with deportation as she has no private health insurance.

The lists go on and on.

They are Real people, real lives. Worried and fearful.

Is that how we should be treating people we promised we’d welcome?

My government needs to guarantee the rights of these people immediately and stop uncertainty.

We need to protect the UK I know -
Open, tolerant and united.

But, it is for THIS house to speak for all European citizens.

We are the ones who must fight for the rights that need to be protected,

Brexit Negotiations will be tough.

And we all know it’s easy to chop away rights than protect them.

So, this house demands the Commission enforces EU rules.

And The British government must respect the laws,

Respect the citizens and

Respect the benefit that migrants bring

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