EC President calls for Belgian citizenship for UK expat Eurocrats

Published:  4 May at 6 PM
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EC president Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday called for British Eurocrats employed in Brussles to be granted Belgian citizenship.

In a speech to the European Parliament, Mr Juncker told lawmakers he’d like to see all expat Britons working as EU officials in Brussels given Belgian citizenship in order to stay in their jobs post-Brexit. Although well-meant, the suggestion is likely to become controversial as the majority of British eurocrats benefit from not being taxed at Belgian rates as they pay tax at a lower diplomatic rate. According to several British EU officials who’ve already attempted to become Belgian nationals, their diplomatic tax status is causing problems.

EU nationals can apply for citizenship in Belgium after they’ve lived in the country for a period of five years or more, and can prove they’re culturally integrated and have contributed to the Belgian social security system. A mass citizenship request by Britons might also be controversial as granting Belgian nationality would open the door for application to a significant number of EU institutional positions.

Mr Juncker’s suggestion prompted a tirade from former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, whose especially low opinion of Belgium as a nation was used to accuse the EC leader of corrupting British citizens. According to Belgian PM Charles Michel, Belgian courts are already facing contradictory rulings over the handling of such citizenship applications, even although Mr Juncker has promised UK staff they’ll not lose their jobs once Brexit is finalised unless they have other international obligations or conflicts of interest. At the present time, it’s believed that a ‘significant number’ of expat Britons working for the EU in Brussels have already applied for passports from several EU member states as well as Belgium.
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