EU citizenship proposal may give hope to UK expats in Europe

Published:  9 Nov at 6 PM
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A revolutionary new proposal due to be reviewed by the European parliament could result in UK expats being allowed to stay in EU member states.

The plan, put forward by a Luxembourg Liberal MEP, suggests establishing an associate EU citizenship aimed at nationals of any country which has opted out of the EU. The revolutionary proposal, if adopted, would offerf a solution for UK expats wishing to retain specific EU rights to remain and work in EU member states.

Liberal MEP Charles Goerens brought the amendment forward as he is fully aware that the UK is now a divided nation, with many of its subjects wishing to live in EU countries as well as to travel freely. Many Britons, he said, still want to be part of Europe, especially those expats now living in EU member states who formerly made the decision to leave the UK.

The scheme, he added, would provide a simple guarantee to UK citizens who don’t want to return to the EU that the right of residence in the EU and the ability to vote in European elections would be granted if so wished. Goerens also stated he’d been surprised by the level of support he’d received from British people once his plan was announced. Many, he added, asked what they could do to help ensure the scheme is allowed.

MEPs are due to vote on Goerens’ proposal early in the New Year, with the plan a possible answer to the British government’s stubborn insistence on immigration control. Should the government’s stance not soften, freedom of movement and the right to remain for British citizens overseas would be lost.

In the meantime, the huge rise in the number of British expats overseas applying for citizenship in other EU member states is likely to continue, with 2,800 across 18 states having applied since the beginning of 2016. Goerens hopes he will get strong support from European parliament members as well as from the newly formed expat groups across the EU at present fighting for the right to remain.
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