Camden demands full rights for its European citizens

Camden Council has urged the Government to secure a guarantee of the full rights of Camden’s European citizens in its Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

Councillor Lazzaro Pietragnoli, Chair of Camden Council’s Brexit Working Group, said: “I want the 17,000 non-British Camden European citizens to know we are here fighting your corner – we want you to stay and we want you to have full citizens’ rights. We’re not getting involved in hypothetical discussions about hard or soft Brexit – our focus is dealing with real Brexit, how it will impact on real people's lives in Camden. We see Camden’s European citizens as an integral part of our diverse community; we represent them and they should be able to vote and stand for election for local government under any negotiated agreement.”

In a special full Council meeting, members of the public also heard evidence from a range of external speakers, including Simon Pitkeathley, Chief Executive of Camden Town Unlimited, who represents Camden’s business community. He urged continued working between the Council and Camden’s small and medium sized businesses to push for continued access to an EU workforce, continued access to funding and a reduction in business uncertainty.

Camden’s Brexit working group, made up of a cross-party team of councillors, committed to reviewing and renewing Camden’s business charter in the latest Brexit context.

The group also committed to exploring the implications of Brexit on the following areas:

  • Social cohesion – identifying and assessing the impact on levels of social cohesion across the borough and tackling any adverse impact of such changes;
  • Employment and skills - the implications on passport rights and job losses in the finance sector;
  • Health - effect of reduction of migration and new opportunities utilising technology;
  • Retail and tourism - implications of financial impact, including fluctuations in sterling and potential import tariffs.

Councillor Jonathan Simpson, Cabinet Member for Promoting Culture and Communities at Camden Council, said: “Camden stands at the gateway to Europe, a quick transfer to Paris and Brussels from St Pancras. But our connection to the EU is not just symbolic – the single market is the bedrock for many of our businesses that are vital for the economic success of London and we’re home to many non-British EU citizens now feeling uncertain, including our Irish citizens concerned about border arrangements affecting their country. And at a time when Camden is bidding to be named London Borough of Culture, let’s not underestimate the threat Brexit uncertainty poses to our thriving creative, artistic and student communities. It’s incumbent on us to work together with businesses, community and culture groups, universities, our partners and politicians of all parties to push for the best deal for Camden – and that’s what we’re going to do.”

You can watch the full webcast from the Council meeting on Brexit on the Council’s website.

Camden Council's Brexit working group includes Councillor Lazzaro Pietragnoli (Chair), Councillor Douglas Beattie, Councillor Heather Johnson, Councillor Samata Khatoon, Councillor Richard Olszewski, Councillor Flick Rea, Councillor Leila Roy and Councillor Gio Spinella.

You can read more about the group on our website.

Other external speakers at the meeting included Seán Kennedy, Chief Executive of The London Irish Centre, Keith Moffit of Camden in Europe, Martin Sagar, an architect and also representing Camden Town Unlimited, Robert Padron of Penrose Care, Giacomo Paoloni an Italian student at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and representing Together Forward/3Millions and Kasia Zagrodniczek, the coordinator for the Employment Rights Project from the East European Resource Centre.