I am pleased to announce that on 3rd December 2021 I was elected by Italian voters in the South England and Wales constituency to represent them in the London “Comites”. With me, three other long-standing campaigners for citizens’ rights were also elected: my good friends and fellow campaigners Elena Remigi, the founder of the InLimbo project for EU nationals in the UK and British citizens in the EU; composer and orchestra director Dimitri Scarlato; and Anna Cambiaggi, a campaigner for citizens’ rights post Brexit. Our coalition Moving Forward also proudly elected Golam Tipu, representing the very large number of Italian citizens living in the UK but not originally born in Italy.
The consultative, volunteer Comites London committee represents the interests of the largest community of Italians living in a foreign country, namely around 350,000 Italian citizens who live in this constituency (there are separate Comites for Manchester and the North of England and for Scotland). The main role of the Comites is to liaise between residents and the Consulate and Embassy, to bring forward issues that may arise, although it can also liaise with the authorities of the country of residence when needed and in coordination with the Consul. The Comites also organises social and cultural activities including those that promote the Italian language.
The Comites London is one of the most active in the world, particularly since the exit of the UK from the EU has thrown up a lot of issues for hundreds of thousands of Italians as well as millions of other EU nationals in the UK.
I stood as an independent candidate within a progressive and pro-European coalition, to bring my experience on the board of directors of the3million group, which by its nature is without party affiliation. However, my candidacy was endorsed – like that of other candidates not affiliated with any political party – by the Rt. Hon. Massimo Ungaro, an Italian MP representing Italians who live in Northern Europe, simply on the basis of our track record in representing citizens’ rights. I would therefore also like to take this opportunity to thank him publicly for endorsing people based on their skills set rather than party affiliation.
I will write more about the Comites and its activities particularly in the context of Brexit – with its wide ranging implications for EU residents in the UK – in the coming weeks and months (in fact I’ve been elected for 5 years which feels slightly daunting!)
Special thanks to all the people who voted and helped spread the word about the elections and the Moving Forward list that I am part of. We will strive to represent and support the Italian community in England and Wales in the best possible way.