On Thursday 3rd of October in Europeans in Catalonia put in place an event about the impact of Brexit on EU and British citizens included in its series of political debates, meet-ups and seminars about the EU.

The event took place in the stunning Barcelona Princess Hotel where more than 100 people attended to listen to four relevant campaigners from citizen’s grassroots groups in the UK and Europe.

Hedwig Hegtermans: Member of the3million, a group that was born in the UK after the Brexit Referendum and campaigns to protect the rights of the European citizens in the UK.

Elena Remigi: Founder and director of the InLimbo project, which has published two books, In Limbo: Brexit Testimonies from EU citizens in the UK and In Limbo Too: Brexit Testimonies from UK citizens in the EU. These books present a compilation of testimonies and documents to understand the harrowing human cost of Brexit.

Debbie Williams: Founder Brexpats-Hear Our Voice campaigning for the preservation of the rights of British nationals in the EU and their European identity. This group was awarded with the European Citizens Prize in 2017 for representing the values of the EU and cross border collaboration.

Sue Wilson: Chair of Bremain in Spain, a forum for British migrants who have chosen to live in Spain, either full or part-time and whose purpose is to stop Brexit.

Hedwig, Elena, Debbie, Sue

With this event and the heartfelt presentations of the four speakers, Europeans in Catalonia helps raising awareness about the extremely difficult situation faced by EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU. The speakers showed the human impact of Brexit, highlighted the importance of healing the divisions, and encouraged the audience to take action to stop Brexit and protect our rights.

The feedback by an engaged audience of mainly British and Spanish was extremely positive and we would like to share some of the comments with you:

“I had no idea about the terrible human cost of Brexit, including difficulties for family reunification, pensions, ability to access study and of course the suffering cause by the uncertainty and rise in xenophobia. I also learned a lot about the legal intricacies of citizenship and referendums. Thank you so much Europeans in Catalonia for organizing this very informative and evocative event. It has made me more determined than ever to fight for our rights.” A H

“Thanks EIC to bring awareness about the real impact of Brexit. There is a lot of information about economic and political consequences, but families are normally forgotten. It was heart-breaking to hear the personal stories your guests brought, explaining how Brexit, regardless of how it ends, will have a significant cost for families in the UK, in the EU and a negative impact on the European Union.” J P

All in all I found all the interventions extremely interesting.  However, I missed a minimal criticism of the European Union, especially towards the European Parliament, which should have foreseen the consequences a Brexit could have for citizens.  If the possibility of an exit from the EU is already an irresponsibility, the irresponsibility is even bigger if we consider that the departure has been so easy and without having consulted all EU citizens. I say this because we have to force the EU, and especially the European Parliament not to abandon its citizens regardless of whether or not there is reciprocity by the British government.

The solution of the problems of the Union´s citizens depends not only on the British government, but, above all, on the European Parliament. Europeans in Catalonia has the opportunity, and perhaps the mission to run for the next elections to the European Parliament independently of all political parties and this is the real battle. But this deserves a bigger debate”. F dl F

These types of informative events about Brexit are very necessary in order to learn the consequences for citizens when governments apply populist measures. The British Government is causing great suffering to People. It is a great warning for Catalans not to let separatists do the same in Catalonia. We must not allow the separatists to take us out of Europe because we would suffer similar consequences. Populism proposes simple and false solutions to complex problems, both in Britain and in Catalonia. Thanks to Europeans in Catalonia for showing us the consequences of Brexit. We need more events like this”. J G

Finally, in a lively atmosphere of togetherness and collaboration a large group of the audience shared some drinks in the trendy bar of the Barcelona Princess Hotel meeting the speakers, exchanging ideas and having some fun.

This event was possible thanks to Barcelona Princess Hotel and to AV Services generosity and support.

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