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MEP proposing duel EU citizenship for Brits “overwhelmed” with support from UK

The MEP behind a proposal to allow duel EU citizenship for people from the UK has been “overwhelmed” by support, Britain for Europe have reported today.

On Monday 21 November, the EU’s Constitutional Affairs Committee will discuss a proposal from Charles Goerens that would give “associate citizenship for those who feel and wish to be part of the European project but are nationals of a former Member State” and give them “the rights of freedom of movement and to reside on its territory” as well as being represented in the European Parliament.

The proposal follows a widely-circulated article by a Bristol campaigner – and Britain for Europe organiser – Joe Williams, who argued for voluntary dual citizenship if Brexit goes ahead (https://www.euractiv.com/section/uk-europe/opinion/tuesday-give-brits-voluntary-dual-eu-citizenship).

Goerens said: “I have been overwhelmed by support both for my amendment and the idea of associate EU citizenship for Brits as proposed by Joe Williams, illustrating the passion that a wide section of UK society still holds for the European Union – and the benefits that their citizenship brings.

“ Amid the uncertainty and anxiety created by the referendum, we should be supporting ideas that seek to create a brighter future for people across the continent and the European Union as a whole.”

Britain for Europe said that over 30,000 emails had been sent to committee members by UK citizens in support of the proposal as part of its lobbying campaign.

Williams (@earsopen) said: “Many of us in UK remain passionate Europeans and the prospect of leaving the EU has only increased our sense of pride.

“Brexit threatens to deny us the rights, responsibilities and opportunities that the EU provides for its citizens, but surely there's a simple way to accommodate the undulled enthusiasm we have for the European project – as well as our sense of fellowship with citizens of our continent overseas?

“By securing voluntary dual citizenship, we won't stop the economic misery that Brexit is creating nor the hatred and division that the result has inspired, but we could retain all the direct individual benefits of EU membership for anyone willing to sign up – as well as keeping our democratic voice in one of the world’s biggest largest political and economic forces.”

The “individual benefits” that the committee will consider extending to “nationals of a former member state” are:

- Permit and visa free travel across 28 countries.
- The right to live and work in an area of over 4 million square kilometres.
- Free healthcare throughout.
- The protection of their security, employment, human and consumer rights as well as the environment.
- The chance to have representation proportionate with their numbers in the European Parliament.

Goerens has put forward the proposal as an amendment to a paper by “chief Brexit negotiator”, Guy Verhofstadt, on the future of the EU.

Britain for Europe is also supporting a petition, set by the European Movement, to support the idea of associate citizenship (www.saveourcitizenship.eu).