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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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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