On the day that the UK formally leaves the EU, Hammersmith & Fulham Council, the first council in the country to pass a motion opposing Brexit, has reiterated its commitment to its EU citizens and to European cooperation.
Announcing the council’s intention to twin with a town in each of the 27 EU member countries, Cllr Stephen Cowan, the Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, said: “We may be leaving the EU but we still hugely value and appreciate our historic and cultural links to all the countries of Europe and we look forward to building new links and relationships across the continent.”
Hammersmith & Fulham Council also announced today its intention to launch a European festival of art, culture and cuisines to be held each year on Europe Day, 9 May. And the EU flag that has flown over the town hall ever since will remain.
The council is also writing to all its EU citizens to encourage those who haven’t yet to apply for settled status. The letter underlines that the borough remains their home, that the council hopes they stay and continue to contribute to the diversity and vibrancy that defines this part of West London. Cllr Cowan said: “Without our EU citizens, we could not be the success story we are now - our economy is booming, our culture is exciting, and our population is vibrant - thanks in huge part to the presence of people who have made this their home, from each of the 27 EU nations.”
He concluded: “People from all over the world, including all over the EU, have helped make Hammersmith & Fulham the great place we all love. We want it to stay that way – and we want all our EU citizens to stay here, where they belong.”
In the 2016 EU referendum, 70 per cent of H&F’s residents voted to remain in the EU.
Hammersmith & Fulham Council is already twinned with 5 towns in the EU; Anderlecht, one of Brussels’s 19 municipalities (Belgium), Boulogne-Billancourt, a western suburb of Paris (France), Neukölln, one of Berlin’s twelve boroughs (Germany), Zaandam in Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Montefiore Conca in the Northern Italian region of Romagna.
Details of the settled status scheme are available on our Brexit preparations page. Those who need assistance with applying for settled status can call or visit the H&F Law Centre or H&F Citizens Advice, who have specialist advisers on hand to help.
Hammersmith & Fulham councillors have a policy of not accepting hospitality. Any visits to twinned cities are at their own expense.
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