#Article (Archive)

As UK quits the EU, Senegambians in Europe express frustration

Feb 3, 2020, 12:48 PM

Senegambian residents from other EU countries currently living or working in the United Kingdom (UK) are voicing out constraint and frustration over their current immigration status as the country finally quits the European Union (EU) on Friday. Also those in other EU countries wishing to enter Britain for various reasons are equally affected.

The departure from the EU followed an intense, controversial and extremely divisive campaign and election. But the overwhelming vote to leave the EU - 47 years after it joined in 1973 that came as a result of a Brexit referendum will no doubt escalate such concerns.

The Point uncovered that anxious Gambians and Senegalese who already heard previous reports that the freedom of movement would end on the day the UK leaves the EU even though the threat was later reversed are still affected.

Nonetheless as the country bids farewell to the EU, some officials demanded a low key celebration to avoid ‘‘hurting the feelings’’ of several citizens. Yet, Brexit supporters covered themselves with British flags outside the houses of Parliament and continued celebrating.

Senegambians who are among those considered as ‘new arrivals’ to the country from within the EU may also lose the right to permanent residence.

Ebou Ndow, a Gambian resident in the Midlands told this correspondent: ‘‘As far as I am concerned, I have family members both in the UK and Germany…,however, I learnt that living and working in both countries will now be difficult.’’

Several EU citizens who also relied on the principle established by the Surinder Singh case defining the right in EU law for a person to move from one member state to another may eventually be disappointed.

In that particular judgement (C-370/90), family members of EU citizens were also protected and covered in accordance with the free movement laws.

However, Senegambians are not alone regarding such apprehensions. In Northern Ireland, the border communities against Brexit staged a series of protest demanding a ‘rethink’. Scotland is also demanding a referendum to help rejoin the EU.

Contrary to the skeptics, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the departure from the EU was ‘‘astonishing moment of hope…potentially a moment of real national renewal and change.’’

Nevertheless EU leaders across the EU decried that the strength of a nation ’‘does not lie in splendid isolation’’ and are ‘‘deeply saddened’’ thus describing Brexit as ‘‘historic alarm signal for Europe to become simpler and more democratic.’’