EU green card could solve EU and UK expat dilemmas

Published:  1 Feb at 6 PM
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The founder of the New Europeans group has won the Financial Times Future of Britain award for his suggestion of a new category of citizenship in Europe.

Today’s FT article celebrates the group’s founder, Roger Casale, for his innovative suggestion of a European green card for EU expats living and working in the UK and its expansion to include UK and third-country expats. Casale quotes a recent opinion poll which, in his opinion, confirms the British sense of fair play in that two thirds of respondents hoped the government would guarantee EU citizens’ right to remain post-Brexit. The survey result also emphasised that the plight of EU and UK expats should not be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the EU.

From a study of the poll results, Casale came to the belief that only a new category of EU citizenship would fit the bill by ensuring rights to those who deserved them due to their contributions to their country of residence. An EU green card, he says, would be based on legal residency, rather than on the possession of EU member state nationality as at present. The Europe-wide card would allow Brits to live and work across the EU and EU citizens to be legally resident and work in the UK. Casale would also like to see the concept extended to include the EU’s qualifying third-country nationals.

Supporting his theory is the fact that the total number of EU nationals in the UK pay more in tax than they receive in benefits, with the amount gained by the Treasury calculated at around £2 billion a year. Conversely, many UK expatriates in EU member states are pensioners who use local health services via the EU health card. The poll results suggest the UK economy draws financial benefits from EU expats in a far greater amount than do the economies of Spain and France from their UK expat presence.
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