ECREU was created in June 2016 by three French resident UK citizens who had been actively fighting for pension rights and the Winter Fuel Payment.
At the time of the referendum, they recognised a need for an organisation capable of using existing and new political contacts for one-to-one relationships to favourably influence MPs and negotiators to protect citizen's rights.
It was agreed that 'Expat Citizen's Rights in EU' (ECREU) should be established with a web site to attract members and collect data to enable an analysis of rights concerns. The site was launched in July 2016 backed by media coverage and quickly gained Google page one positioning for a range of search phrases.
In October of 2016, Expat Citizen's Rights in EU became a Registered Association in France, Association n° W862002237, and by the time of Brexit, had become one of the largest member based EU citizen's rights organisations with close to 11,000 members from all 28 EU States.
In November 2016, Data from member joining forms plus written concerns, was published as evidence by The House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee and was later used by House of Commons committees.
ECREU also provided Parliament with detailed healthcare data following a Foreign and Commonwealth Office report which omitted key detail essential to UK citizens living in other EU countries. ECREU was also represented at a number of Select Committee hearings.
Towards the end of 2016, ECREU agreed to be one of the founders of British in Europe (BIE) which gave access to skilled and knowledgeable legal experts to effectively represent member groups to Brexit negotiators from both sides. This resulted in powerful and effective lobbying which helped secure the inclusion of critical elements of the final Brexit agreement.
Now Brexit is 'done', ECREU and BIE have wound down activities. But ECREU is still here and we will keep an eye on the future, ready to act on behalf of UK citizens affected by Brexit.