At British in Europe we are extremely proud of our achievements since we formed after the referendum. Over this time we have managed to build a coalition of British citizens across the EEA, EFTA and Switzerland, and we have given them a voice at the highest levels of UK Government and EU institutions. We ensured that key rights were enshrined in the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) and have won notable battles along the way such as £3 million in funding for the UKNSFs as well as grace periods for both returning UK citizens and their family members and home fees for UKinEU wishing to study in the UK.
However, those following our progress will know that key members of our Steering Team have had to step down this year and what little funding we received has all but dried up. We have searched for large-scale funding, as opposed to limited project funding, with minimal success, because while our work is appreciated and respected, the rights of British citizens in the EU are not seen as a priority when placed alongside issues such as refugees or climate change. Our regular appeals to supporters have brought in fewer and fewer donations, so we are now running on empty. We are also all exhausted, our families feel they have been abandoned, and our day jobs have been ignored for too long.
And so, it is with heavy hearts that we announce that we will be winding down the British in Europe organisation from the end of October (although certain national British in Europe groups including groups in countries with large UKinEU populations will continue independently). We would like to thank all of our dedicated country admins for their amazing work. We will continue to advocate on specific issues that we are already working on, such as Right of Return and the Elections Bill until the end of 2021 but we will not be able to take on new actions post that date. We believe that a role exists for an independent group that is representative of the British diaspora in Europe as a whole to provide a voice for them as we have done until now; unfortunately, it cannot be us going forward.
THE BRITISH IN EUROPE STEERING TEAM
17 SEPTEMBER 2021