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Pro-European campaigners secure chance that Brits will keep EU citizenship after Brexit

The European Union will discuss a proposal to allow people in the UK to keep their EU citizenship voluntarily after Brexit, Britain for Europe has confirmed.

On Monday 21 November, the EU’s Constitutional Affairs Committee will discuss a proposal 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).

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.

The proposal has been put forward by Charles Goerens, a Luxembourgish Liberal, to a paper by “chief Brexit negotiator”, Guy Verhofstadt, on the future of the EU.