The EU Citizens' Champion campaign
EU citizens who made their home in the UK have now been living in limbo for 870 days. 3.7 million people. 3.7 million lives. 3.7 million futures on hold, with families and friends also affected. In essence, EU citizens have been moved on from bargaining chips in Brexit negotiations to collateral of Brexit, with comforting words constantly matched only by discomfiting actions.
The draft Withdrawal Agreement did not provide the security for EU citizens in the UK that it should have, and no-deal Brexit continues to loom large, posing an existential threat. Settled status, a special status set out in the draft Withdrawal Agreement for EU citizens who wish to remain in the UK post-Brexit, will force all of them - 3.7 million people - to apply to stay. But applications can be rejected, many questions remain unanswered, and many practical issues are also unresolved. To learn more about the problems, have a look at Endangered Rights published by FES London.
This situation 3.7 million EU citizens at home in the UK are now in explains why the EU Citizens' Champion campaign was founded: to ensure that the3million, the UK's leading NGO working to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK, has the funding it needs to keep doing that.
Update for campaign donors
Thanks to the generous support of 835 donors so far since the campaign launch in July 2018, the EU Citizen's Champion campaign fundraiser has raised over £21,900 of the target of £100,000 so far. Thank you so much to all those of you who became an EU Citizens' Champion by making a donation.
It is because of friends and supporters like you who champion EU citizens that the3million are able to take the next steps to inform and protect EU citizens across the UK. Funds raised for the campaign go directly to the3million.
What your donations have funded so far
Outreach is a critical aspect of the work of the3million because many EU citizens are not aware that they have to apply if they want to stay in the UK post-Brexit, and the government is doing only very little to help. Thanks to the EU Citizens' Champion fundraiser a team member of the3million is now employed 2 1/2 days a week to work on outreach programmes. She is paid directly from the fundraiser and her work would not happen otherwise.
The3million have built relationships with an extensive network of EU community organisations, unions, NGOs, local and national government organisations and EU embassies. With your support the3million have developed workshops, meetings and presentations to reach out to EU citizens across the country. Recent events since September have been held in Liverpool, Salford, Bradford, Harrogate, Leeds, Stockport, and Bury. Future events are planned for Hull, Cardiff, Bristol and Norwich.
Your contributions support volunteers to collaborate with key organisations such as the OISC, Here for Good and the Home Office to make sure all materials are legally sound and comply with legal advice regulations.
Monitoring of the Home Office
The EU Citizens' Champion fundraiser is also paying for 5 days of preparation time for a the3million team member to set up the monitoring research project that will start in March 2019, enabling settled status applicants to feed back on the application process in a neutral and impartial way. This will enable the3million to identify any gaps and issues; will feed into regular reports to be sent to the Home Office for their continuous improvement programme; and be used by the advocacy team. While the research is centred on applicants' feedback, the advocacy focus will be on unlawful reasons for refusal, unreasonable delays in decision-making, the processing of appeals, and residents of over 5 years being given pre-settled status due to errors.
More generally, monitoring also involves day-to-day scrutiny of policy relating to settled status. The recent u-turn of immigration minister Caroline Nokes underlines how crucial it is to monitor and lobby the government and politicians. After giving Nokes's evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, stating that employers would have to check EU workers' status in a no-deal scenario, the Home Office clarified this wouldn't be the case after an intervention by the3million for example.
None of these activities would have been possible without your help and for that the3million send a personal thank you to all donors.
If you would like to make a donation too to make sure that this vital work can continue, please visit the fundraiser page.
A look back at the development of the campaign, its launch and activities since then
'You're safe here … until you're not'
With the amazing support of actor, writer and director David Schneider and his team Tanja Bueltmann, founder of the EU Citizens' Champion Campaign, was able to turn her initial idea into a campaign that became much bigger. David's tragically brilliant satirical take on settled status - developed into the campaign video - shows the situation of EU citizens at home in the UK so incredibly well, representing over two years of limbo and anxiety in a nutshell: you’re safe here … until you’re not.
From script to campaign video
The campaign video
The campaign was launched with the campaign video in mid-July 2018. This was followed with a series of public awareness activities in London over the week following the launch. All of the activities had a social media component and were designed to publicise the campaign, as well as raise awareness of the issues EU citizens in the UK are faced with.
A special thanks
The first awareness activity focused on one tragic fact EU citizens have been faced with since the EU referendum: that their voices are rarely every heard and not often included. That is why #OneOfThe3Million sought to reclaim that, EU citizens sharing their stories online and at Speaker's Corner - a place symbolic of the struggle of many to be heard.
The next day saw campaigners on Trafalgar Square: post-it notes from over 250 EU citizens at home in the UK and British citizens who support them were placed on the ground for passers by to read and contribute to. The theme was #StickAround - why do EU citizens stick around in the UK despite Brexit, and why do British people want them to stick around? This activity facilitated so many conversations with people who had no idea that their EU citizen neighbours, colleagues and friends have to apply to stay and, therefore, increased awareness in a tangible way and was very effective.
Since the launch activities in July the EU Citizens' Champion campaign has continued to undertake awareness events. These are designed to engage members of the public who might not be aware of the situation EU citizens at home in the UK are now in. In Edinburgh in August this involved encouraging people to make a pledge about what they would do to help.
While this campaign is about EU citizens at home in the UK, their situation is only one part of a wider story: British citizens who live in another EU / EEA country or Switzerland are also severely affected, and their rights are under threat. They are about 1.2 million people, so together both groups are #The5Million. That is one reason why the next campaign activity took place in Brussels to enhance discussion in the heart of the EU too. #OneOfThe5Million told their stories.
In early November, following #TheLastMile human chain to Downing Street and while many of #The5Million went to a lobby in Parliament co-organised by the3million, the EU Citizens' Champion campaign went to Trafalgar Square for another awareness activity. This time to have a word with Theresa May, with #The5Million telling Mrs May how their treatment by her makes them feel. Looking at the words some of #The5Million shared made passers by pause in their tracks. They were all struck by the sense of desperation and anxiety that flows from the words.
How can I become an EU Citizens' Champion?
If you agree that EU citizens in the UK deserve better, then please consider becoming an EU Citizens' Champion too. There are many ways in which you can, but the most immediately impactful is by making a donation to the campaign fundraiser. Funds go directly to the3million to enable them to continue the vital work they do to make sure that no EU citizen is left behind because of Brexit.
Want to help spread the word?
If you are interested in helping to spread the word about the campaign, please check out the explainers and materials on the campaign website. This includes downloadable flyers and other materials.
None of the activities for the EU Citizens' Champion campaign would have been possible without the help of many, many people. Tanja Bueltmann, founder of the campaign, would like to thank the following people in particular:
David Schneider and his incredible team at That Lot. Without them the campaign clip could not have been realised. David's creativity and the team's willingness to help, their care and commitment, make them the best of the best EU Citizens' Champions!
All the wonderful supporters for activities on site of events and online: Nicola; Axel; Maike; Julia; Alex; John; Gerard; Anja; Steve; Chris; Tim, Michaela and Niamh; Hedwig; James; Sue; Elspeth; Daniel; Freddie; Robert; and many more of the Final Say for All team.
Steve Bullock and Chris Kendall for making this campaign one they have asked CakeWatch listeners to donate to - simply brilliant and a big thank you for that!
Author James Silvester who, at the launch of his new book (which is about an EU citizen) chose to publicise this campaign. That was lovely and much appreciated.
Created with images by Morvanic Lee - "Thank you"