British expats living in EU member nations are getting more and more concerned about the changes in their European citizenship status after Brexit.
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s appointee to lead Brexit negotiations, revealed recently how big the problem was. According to Mr. Verhofstadt, the Parliament receives thousands of requests from Britons anxious to retain European citizenship post-Brexit.
Following the stream of letters, the parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator promised to give this problem full attention.
“We’ve got to look to that request, because I think it’s very important that it is not the citizens of the UK who become the victim of this new situation and of the Brexit.”
Mr. Verhofstadt has pledged to push forward a motion offering Britons to retain elements of EU citizenship.
What kind of European Citizenship are we talking about?
The motion Mr. Verhofstadt referred to is a proposed plan to offer British people the chance to individually opt in and remain EU citizens. The citizenship in question is a so called “associate citizenship”.
Associate European citizenship will give Britons rights to live and work in the EU. In addition, associate European citizens will be able to vote in EU elections and have consular help when in difficulty.
However good the plan might sound to British expats, there is, unfortunately, a strong opposition to it. Some MPs and groups think that this plan should not be a part of Brexit negotiations. Moreover, it is exactly freedom of movement that Brexit aims to finish with.
At the same time, Mr. Verhofstadt is himself in doubt when speaking about the chances of the motion to ever come to life.
“I don’t say that this will be ultimately possible, but what I am looking for is, can we not respond positively to these individuals in the UK, British citizens who are saying, ‘Please, please, please let us keep at least some elements of the EU citizenship’.
Read the full story in the Independent