The protest was organised to show solidarity for EU citizens in the UK as well as British citizens living in the EU. Gareth explains, “The motivation and reason for such activity is to fight to keep our EU acquired rights…those that could affect our freedom of movement in the future, the right to work in other EU states as an EU citizen, the right to have our qualifications recognised in our current EU state of residence and any that we may subsequently move to, the right to keep our healthcare rights and especially those of a lot of our pensioner clients who rely on it, the right to have our social security contributions taken into account from other EU states and all the interconnected rights that go with these things.”
Outside the impressive 14th century Novella church in the centre of Florence, the protesters were in good voice with many flags and banners, one reading “Denied a vote – Denied a voice”. The usual media circus was in town, and Gareth was delighted to be able to talk to many journalists to throughout the day.
Gareth Horsfall is a member of ‘British in Italy‘ which has been set up to protect and fight for the rights of Italian citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU.
The message is simple:
We should be granted all the rights that we have acquired and/or are entitled to before the UK chose to leave the EU.
The objectives are listed below:
- British in Italy is a group of UK citizens resident in Italy concerned about the effect of Brexit on the many thousands of UK citizens in Italy and the half million or so Italians in the UK
- Our aim is to ensure that Brexit does not penalise these individuals, all of whom made the decision to move across the Channel in bona fide and relying on their EU right of freedom of movement
- UK citizens already in Italy and Italians already in the UK should therefore continue to have all the rights they had acquired or were in the process of acquiring while the UK was in the EU
- We have already lobbied the UK government hard not to take these rights away from EU citizens in the UK
If you have not yet made your presence known, and/or you know someone who hasn’t then feel free to get in touch with the British in Italy group at firstname.lastname@example.org Your name and contact information will be registered and you will be added to a newsletter mailing list. (Your information will not be shared or used for corporate purposes). Or follow them on Facebook HERE
Horsfall finishes by saying “The UK Government is failing to give an outright guarantee to EU citizens living in the UK and reacting to this the EU is threatening to restrict our own rights. We are all in this together and should fight to stop it. Its not about stopping BREXIT but just about treating people fairly and not ruining peoples lives and potentially pulling families apart.
Gareth was also part of the Exiting the EU Select committee, which met at the House of Commons back in January this year. Gareth was one of four UK citizens living in the EU who represented other UK citizens living in the EU, in Westminster.