The European Parliament's Chief Negotiator plans to offer British nationals the right to opt into "associate citizenship" in the EU, with the right to travel and work in the continent.
The proposal went from "long term goal" to "fast-tracked" negotiating proposal at the behest of Guy Verhofstadt, who represents the European Parliament in the Brexit negotiations. The move is being hailed by the UK anti-Brexit camp as a way to salvage some of the benefit of Britain's EU membership after the Brexit is effected.
It's hard to guess how the Tory negotiators will view this. On the one hand, it could substantially reduce the risk that Scots will stage a successful "Skexit" referendum to become independent of the UK. On the other hand, it could see the nearly half of Britons who voted against Brexit becoming, effectively, dual nationals, and present the risk of massive brain-drain of some of the UK's most-skilled workers to other EU territories.
On the other other hand, the EU project is in serious trouble, with anti-EU, reactionary/xenophobic politicians on the rise in many EU nations, so that "associate citizenship" may not be worth much.
Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder said: “The option of being able to retain EU citizenship offers a glimmer of hope for the millions of British people devastated by the referendum result.
“The fact this proposal is going ahead shows there remains a huge amount of goodwill towards Britain, despite the actions of this Conservative Brexit Government.
“Everyone who supports this should write to MEPs and tell them how passionately they feel about maintaining their rights as EU citizens, including the ability to live, study and work abroad."
In its original form the amendment suggested the provision of “European associate citizenship for those who feel and wish to be part of the European project but are nationals of a former member state; offers these associate citizens the rights of freedom of movement and to reside on its territory as well as being represented in the Parliament through a vote in the European elections on the European lists”.
EU negotiators will offer Brits an individual opt-in to remain EU citizens, chief negotiator confirms
[Jon Stone/The Independent]
(via Making Light)