March for Europe in Rome on 25 March

British in Italy (BiI) to participate in pro-EU March for Europe in Rome.

By Patricia Clough.

Britons living in Italy will converge on Rome on Saturday 25 March with Union Jacks, slogans and bagpipers to take part in the March for Europe and demand that they retain their rights in Italy even after Brexit.

They will be expressing the concern of thousands of Britons in Italy who are living in a state of uncertainty and alarm over how Brexit – Britain’s leaving the European Union – will affect their futures here.

Like the three million citizens from EU countries living in Britain – of which some half a million are Italian – they risk losing the many rights they have enjoyed for years as EU citizens. These include not only residency but also the right to work, access to healthcare, recognition of professional qualifications, pension rights and other issues. Estimates of the number of British citizens in Italy vary from 26,000 to 65,000 and many are now mobilising.

“Failure to settle this question before Britain leaves the EU could cause many cases of real hardship” says Jeremy Morgan QC, spokesman for British in Italy, the main organisation campaigning to retain these rights. “For instance, pensioners who are sick may no longer qualify for help from the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale [Italian national health service] and those with pre-existing medical conditions may not be able to get health insurance. People could lose their livelihoods, or be forced give up their jobs to retrain to qualify for the work they were already doing. And everyone would have to deal with the hassles that constantly face extracomunitari [non-EU members].”

British in Italy (BiI), together with similar groups in other EU countries who have formed the coalition British in Europe, plus the3million, the main EU group in the UK, has been lobbying hard in London and Rome to demand that citizens who have moved to live on the other side of the Channel should not be penalised once Britain leaves the EU. Members have given evidence to the House of Commons Committee for Exiting the EU and will meet Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, in Brussels in late March. BiI can be contacted at britsinitaly@gmail.com.

Those participating in the March for Europe will gather in front of the municipal rose garden on Via del Circo Massimo from 11.00 on 25 March. The event is scheduled to finish at around 14.30 close to the Colosseum. For more details see programme and British in Italy Facebook page.

See related article in 5 April edition of Wanted in Rome magazine.