20,000 back our EU citizenship campaign

20,000 people have now given their support to our campaign for pro-European Brits to keep their EU citizenship, if Brexit ends up going ahead. Here’s the link to add your name.

Brexit might not happen, of course. If the British people change their minds before we leave, it would be bizarre and anti-democratic for them not to be free to do so.

But Brexit might happen, so we need to think about what our Plan B should be. And we believe that that means convincing the EU to be generous enough to let us stay part of their great project even if the UK departs.

Since we set up this blog back in mid-October to pitch the idea of individual opt-in EU citizenship for pro-EU Brits post-Brexit (HERE is he original post), the idea has been proposed in the European Parliament by Luxembourg Liberal MEP Charles Goerens and championed too by Belgian MEP and leader of the Liberal group of MEPs Guy Verhofstadt.

We have written about the idea too, like HERE in The New European.

We recognise that we’re asking a big favour. We realise too that full citizenship may be too big an ask, so it might be some kind of associate citizenship, or some other new kind of idea. We realise too that we would almost certainly have to pay an individual fee for it. But we still want in.

If you support this idea, please add your name to the 20,000 who have so far backed us. You can add your name HERE.

The European Parliament has inserted into their Brexit negotiating position that there should be some solution for pro-EU Brits who face being abandoned in Brexit Britain. And MEPs have real power in this; they have to okay any exit deal for it to go ahead.

This, or something close to it, could happen. So, please, if you want to keep your EU citizenship should Brexit really happen then sign up to support our efforts, and you can do that by clicking HERE.

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Over 4,000 have signed Guy Verhofstadt letter so far. Why not add your name too?

Over 4,000 people have added their names to our open letter to Guy Verhofstadt, the Liberal MEP and the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator. Any exit deal between the EU and the UK will need to be approved by MEPs in the European Parliament.

Our letter, which we’d love you to sign, supports Mr Verhofstadt’s plan for pro-EU Brits to be offered some kind of opt-in individual associate citizenship of the EU, if the UK ends up leaving the European Union. You can read a recent report about the idea HERE.

Here’s the text:

Dear Mr Verhofstadt

This letter to you is signed by [insert final number] people.

We wanted to write to thank you for your efforts to allow UK nationals who value their EU citizenship to retain it, or a form of it, post-Brexit. We value not only the freedoms and opportunities it gives us, but also that it makes us a part of the most successful peace project in history.

Theresa May does not speak for us. She has made no attempt to reach out to, or in any way represent, us or any of the 16 million people who voted Remain on 23rd June last year. Indeed, you speak for us far better and more eloquently than she ever has.

We wish you every success in your attempt to get this idea on the agenda of the Brexit talks and into the final deal. We back you 100%.

Of course, we also want an equally generous settlement for other EU nationals too.

Thank you for everything that you are doing, and good luck!

Yours sincerely

To add your name to our open letter to Guy Verhofstadt, just click HERE. Thank you.

UPDATE: we have now sent the letter, so we cannot accept any more signatures to it – BUT you can still sign up to support our campaign for continuing EU citizenship for pro-EU Brits post-Brexit. Find out about that, and find the link to sign up HERE.

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Will you join us in signing this letter to Guy Verhofstadt?

Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt is the European Parliament’s lead Brexit negotiator. Any Brexit deal will require the approval of the European Parliament – without it, the deal will fall.

Mr Verhofstadt backs the idea of giving British people the right to opt in to some kind of associate EU citizenship if Brexit happens. Here’s a link to one report about what he’s said.

With the negotiations about to start, we are going to send Mr Verhofstadt a letter, and we’re inviting you to join us in signing it. The text is below; please read it, and if you want to sign it too then click HERE to add your name.

Dear Mr Verhofstadt

This letter to you is signed by [insert final number] people.

We wanted to write to thank you for your efforts to allow UK nationals who value their EU citizenship to retain it, or a form of it, post-Brexit. We value not only the freedoms and opportunities it gives us, but also that it makes us a part of the most successful peace project in history.

Theresa May does not speak for us. She has made no attempt to reach out to, or in any way represent, us or any of the 16 million people who voted Remain on 23rd June last year. Indeed, you speak for us far better and more eloquently than she ever has.

We wish you every success in your attempt to get this idea on the agenda of the Brexit talks and into the final deal. We back you 100%.

Of course, we also want an equally generous settlement for other EU nationals too.

Thank you for everything that you are doing, and good luck!

Yours sincerely

If you like the letter and want to add your name, click here to be taken to the page where you can do exactly that. Thank you!

UPDATE: we’ve now sent the letter to Mr Verhofstadt, so you cannot any longer sign it – BUT you can still sign up to support the campaign; find out about that HERE.

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We’re writing to Guy Verhofstadt. Want to sign our letter too?

We’ve drafted a letter (below) that we’re going to be sending to Guy Verhofstadt, the Liberal MEP who will be the European Parliament’s chief negotiator in the Brexit talks.

Mr Verhofstadt has made it clear that he will ensure the idea of associate EU citizenship for Brits will be on the negotiating table. You can read about it in this article from the Independent.

Would you like to sign the letter too? If you do, click on this link and leave your details. Do it before the end of Wednesday 14th December (by which we mean 11.59pm) and we’ll add your details before we pop it into the post on Thursday. Please don’t leave your details as a comment. To make sure we have your consent, we will only use the name of people who apply using the link. Here’s that link again. Thank you.

Dear Mr Verhofstadt

I am writing to thank you for speaking up for the 48% of people who voted ‘Remain’ in the UK’s referendum on our European Union membership. Since 23rd June, our voices have been ignored by a government that is just not listening.

We were asked whether we wanted to remain EU citizens. Over 16 million of us said that we did. But we are all set to be stripped of that status nonetheless.

It is this impending loss of our EU citizenship that many of us feel so deeply. We will lose, at a stroke, the right to travel, live, study, work, retire, and set up a business with the minimum of bureaucratic fuss and bother in any of 27 other EU member states. But it is more than that. Many of us feel European – right down into our bones. We will feel this loss very strongly indeed.

It is fantastic therefore that you have now placed on the negotiating table the idea of offering pro-European Brits continuing associate EU citizenship. In recent days, even those who want to leave have conceded that this should be something they accept – as it would not stop Brexit and it would be entirely voluntary, meaning those who do not wish to take part do not have to do so. Reportedly, Number 10 is also potentially open to it.

I say thanks also to your Liberal colleague, Charles Goerens, whose amendment was instrumental in getting this onto the agenda in Brussels.

I do hope that this is an idea that can make progress, and thank you for your efforts to ensure that the voices of over 16 million pro-Europeans are heard in these negotiations.

Yours sincerely

UPDATE: we sent the letter, thanks for the 1,000+ people who signed it. If you want to support our campaign, you can still add your name to the 20,000 who have signed up so far. Full details HERE. Thanks!

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We need to lobby our MEPs on EU citizenship.

Wow – what a response! In the middle of last month, I set up this blog and wrote its first post. It set out a simple idea: that if Brexit happens, individual pro-EU Brits who don’t want to leave should be free to take out European citizenship directly with the EU.

I tweeted a link and shared it on Facebook. And boom! Within a few days it had been read by more than 100,000 people, and over 16,000 have now signed up to support the idea (click HERE to join them). Over 500 people have left positive comments on the blog post, and I’ve had many messages of support on social media too.

I’ve been working hard to get the word out. Most recently, I wrote a piece for this week’s The New European; you can read that HERE. I’ve also started the job of getting the message out amongst our fellow Europeans too; here’s a link to a post I wrote for an English-language Swedish news site.

But here’s the real game-changer. A Liberal MEP from Luxembourg called Charles Goerens is pushing the idea in the European Parliament. He’s written a piece for the Independent setting out some of the detail. This could really be happening…

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Before we get too excited, there are lots of hurdles that this idea must clear. Lots. But, importantly, it is no longer just an idea on a blog. The ball is rolling – and getting it rolling is always the hardest part.

It’s important right now that we, as pro-Europeans, contact our representatives. We need to show them that there are lots of people who don’t want to have their European citizenship revoked. And what is being proposed here is a positive way to ensure that it isn’t.

What we all need to do now – right now – is contact our MEPs. This is really important. Below is all the information you need about how to contact them, detail about the amendment that Charles Goerens MEP is proposing, and the text of what I am sending to my MEPs.

First of all, don’t worry if you don’t know who represents you in the European Parliament. You can use the WriteToThem website. It’s free, and all you have to do is input your postcode. You will have several MEPs, and they all represent you. That’s because groups of MEPs collectively represent large areas of the UK (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the regions of England), rather than you just having one constituency MEP. You can send them messages individually, using WriteToThem, or click on a link to send them all the same message in one go. And remember – it’s simple and free.

The European Parliament’s UK website also lists all the UK’s MEPs and their contact details. You just need to know which part of the UK you live in.

So, that’s who represents you. What should you be saying to them? The report we are emailing MEPs about is currently before the Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO). It is in the name of Guy Verhofstadt MEP and its reference is 2014/2248(INI). The specific amendment is in the name of Charles Goerens MEP, and is number 882. Below is a screenshot of the amendment, and here is a link to a .pdf of proposed amendments to the report (search for “882” to get to the one we want).

charles-goerens-mep-amendment-882-eu-associate-citizenship

And here is what I have sent to my MEPs:

Dear …

Re: support for amendment 882 to AFCO report 2014/2248(INI).

I am writing to you in support of a proposal that is currently before the European Parliament. Specifically, I support amendment 882, in the name of Charles Goerens MEP, to Constitutional Affairs Committee report 2014/2248(INI). This amendment would give nationals of countries that have left the European Union the freedom to choose whether or not to take out associate citizenship of the EU directly, as individuals.

This has obvious implications for UK nationals given that the UK Government plans shortly to begin the process of leaving the EU.

This amendment does not in any way seek to frustrate the process of exit. If approved, there would be no requirement to participate on those who want no part of the EU. It forces nothing on anyone. What it would do however is allow those who value their EU citizenship the freedom to maintain it, at least on an “associate citizenship” basis.

The amendment is currently before the Constitutional Affairs Committee; if passed there, it will come before all MEPs. I support this idea, and I ask you to vote for it and to encourage other MEPs in your political group to do the same.

I would welcome your response, and look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely

Feel free to use that text, or modify it. I think it’s short, simple and clear. Please do share MEPs’ responses. It is useful to know what they are planning to do when this comes to a vote.

And share a link to this blog post on your social media too – there are lots of buttons at the end to help you do that. Email it to friends who might sympathise. And remember – this idea would not force anything on anyone. If a person doesn’t like the EU, they wouldn’t have to apply for citizenship. But what it does do is give choice to those who want to keep it.

Thanks for your support.

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