by Graham Pierrepoint
As Theresa May’s Brexit bill goes ever further through Parliament, Britain is getting ever closer to leaving the European Union – and while the exit may not necessarily occur until around 2019, there are already motions in place both within the EU, the European Commission and over in the UK. Certainly, it appears that May and the Conservative government are aiming for a ‘Hard Brexit’ – which will likely see the UK resign from access to the single market in favor of greater restriction over free movement between countries. For those British citizens living in the EU already, however, the future is less certain – how will their rights be protected once Brexit comes to pass?
The European Commission is potentially facing a proposal that EU citizens be given the option to apply for separate EU citizenship – a proposal that will encourage those British citizens affected by Brexit who wish to retain EU rights and benefits to take up a whole new passport once the UK resigns its membership of the Union. Certainly, it is an option that will give many UK ‘remain’ voters hope – and it has previously been discussed as a potential policy that may become part of negotiation between the UK and the EU.
The European Commission allows for initiatives, or petitions, to be put forward to them by citizens of EU member states so that they may have the chance to help mould policy and provide feedback. Once an initiative reaches 1,000,000 signatures that can be verified to authentic EU citizens, the EC can then acknowledge and consider proposals. It’s a system that was brought in by the Lisbon Treaty, and one which has see policy changes such as those relating to pollution take place in recent years. Therefore, it is considered by many as a perfectly viable chance for British people in Europe to retain rights that they voted for – but will it be on the table once negotiations begin?
Anyone who voted ‘remain’ or who wishes to retain EU rights and benefits may therefore consider signing the initiative in the hope that the EC takes note – as it may be a considerably beneficial strategy to helping UK citizens who currently work and live on the continent. If you are potentially affected by Brexit, or would like to know more about the initiative, you can read more or even sign the petition at www.choosefreedom.eu.