Brit expats in France banned from signing European Citizens Initiative

Published:  20 Jul at 6 PM
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A new bid to ensure lifetime retention of European Union citizenship will go live next Monday, but Brits in the EU are excluded from the vote.

The new European Citizens Initiative will be introduced on July 23, with the aim of ensuring that when European citizenship with all its rights is granted, it cannot be lost. The initiative's organisers are citing Brexit and its effect on British citizen expatriates in that they will lose European citizenship once Brexit is finalised. The sting in the tail is that Brits living and working in France will not be able to sign as rules for validation differ in the UK than those in France.

According to French authorities, only those with French passports will be allowed to be validated, with the UK saying it will only validate those living in the UK. The situation is exceptional, as only Ireland and the UK rule signatories must be residents in order to qualify. A majority of EU member states are legally able to validate expat citizens of other EU countries, but Brits in France, Portugal, Austria, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic are left out in the cold. Brits in Italy should be able to participate, as Italian law simply requires an ID document and doesn’t discriminate by nationality.

The European Commission is being asked to explain why this discrepancy is being allowed as it seems to be against EU principles of non-discrimination, based on the fact that the UK is still officially an EU member state. In addition, the UK and French governments are also being asked why they are limiting participation by those most at risk of having their lives wrecked by means of losing their EU citizenship. For readers unfamiliar with the European Citizens’ Initiative, it’s a right available to EU citizens who wish to propose legislation to the European Commission. France’s and Britain’s stance on this is obviously discriminatory and may, yet again, prevent expats who have the most to lose by losing EU citizenship from fighting for their rights.
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