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Associate Citizenship

The proposal from Mr Charles Goerens, one of Luxembourg’s MEPs, for associate citizenship of the EU for nationals of a former Member State is of course an attractive one to the millions of people in the UK who voted to remain in the EU and wish to retain some of their EU rights. It is also a nice gesture from our continental colleagues.

When first proposed in November, this was an amendment tabled by Mr Goerens to a draft report by Guy Verhofstadt in the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs committee about possible future changes to the EU treaties. This would have required a treaty amendment agreed by all Member States and ratified by their national parliaments or referenda, which was not very likely to happen.

After discussions with Mr Verhofstadt early this month, Mr Goerens decided to withdraw his amendment as he realised that this was a very important issue that could not await an unlikely treaty change. This decision was based on Mr Verhofstadt’s commitment, as lead Brexit negotiator for the European Parliament, to include a proposal for individual EU citizenship for UK citizens on an opt-in basis in the parliament’s negotiating mandate with the UK government.

Although there are of course no guarantees that this will form part of the final Brexit agreement between the EU and the UK, the proposal for Associate EU Citizenship for UK citizens is more likely to succeed through this procedure than through a treaty amendment.

I, for my part, support the principle of the proposal and will of course make the case for the retention of as many EU rights and freedoms as possible for UK citizens in the government’s Brexit negotiations, if indeed we do go ahead with leaving the European Union.

I spoke to LBC’s Clive Bull about this in November.


  1. Please do so. Some of my family have no access to a second passport. We would prefer to stay with our British passport but do NOT wish to loose our rights as EU citizens.

    Gillian Mehta

  2. It is difficult to agree with this strance when wishing to remain an EU citizen after the UK leaves the EU. I am ,oolong for someone to take up the cause for those who wish to retain EU citizenship here in the UK. It might seem illogical but I will have my European citizenship ripped from me against my will. There is no precedent for this. Can you help?

  3. Please encourage this proposal to be adopted. Only 37% of the UK’s population opted to leave the EU. Theresa May, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson don’t speak for the majority. UK graduates are predominantly in favour of remaining in the EU. Educated British graduates and skilled workers would be an asset to the rest of the EU given the chance. It is only the UK who should fear the resultant brain drain. Please Europe don’t allow those of us who voted remain to become imprisoned here against our will.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with S Douglas comments and would add it is not only Graduates and skilled workers who would be an asset, the children of today and tomorrow need to be given every opportunity to fulfil their potential whatever their skills and talents. I do not want to be any part of minimising their options for the future.

  5. I fully support the proposal for EU Associate Citizenship – I’d quite happily pay a portion of my income to ensure that my family retain EU rights. My desire to retain EU citizenship goes beyond the financial I wish to continue to support stability, freedom and the concept of Europe as a global entity.

  6. I also support the proposal of European Associate Citizenship. I have always considered myself to be a European and I hate the thought of an uprising in nationalism . I have lived long enough to see the divisions that nationalism can encourage.

  7. As you say I prefer that the UK Remains in the EU – we do not want to lose our citizenship. I guess if we did have Brexit then retaining our citizenship might be a good thing, but I cant really see how this can happen. And if it will be inheritable. We also would need to ensure that all children also get this as many children want to work within the European Union. We are pretty integrated now. Most people I know have either worked there for part of their careers, or they have married a person from eg France or whatever or else their kids are working there. It is just so common. I would say probably well over 50% of the people I know have these links.

  8. This is an encouraging development. I too am tired of the press and politician focus on the economic impact of Brexit (although I think it will be disasterous). I am a European Citizen, which, if forced to choose, is preferable to a meer British Subject.
    I am so disgusted with my country that I would like to emigrate, although my age and consequent reliance on a pension dependent on Sterling exchange rate makes this impossible.

  9. I very much support this. I think so much of what I plan to do in life is linked with Europe – travel, culture and work – that I would like to have the opportunity as an individual to retain, or apply to retain, as many rights as possible. I work for the NHS, and the future projections on workforce are very scary, without continued support from EU workers, so I would like to see individual rights for UK and EU citizens retained as far as possible. Brexit will bring about new economic and other arrangements, but the impact of Brexit on individual people and families cannot be under-estimated and not what a lot of people voted for.

  10. If the UK remains in EU with its ever creeping federelization we will have lost our democracy and will be behaving like a banana republic. By referendum the Uk democratically voted to leave the EU.
    Any wriggling away from this fact is totally out of order and a disgrace to this sovereign country.
    We are a fully grown country and quite able to run our own affairs.

    • I would rather be part of a fully federal Republic of Europe than a morally bankrupt, undemocratic tinpot kingdom, with its FPTP, unelected upper house and unbalanced devolution based on historical accidents of former statehood and not on equal-sized population units.

  11. A late joiner to this, I wrote to Guy Verhofstadt of the European Parliament and copied it to my MP, who put me in touch with Richard Corbett. How about a load of us lobbying our MPs about this? I sent the correspondence to the New European hoping they’ll take it up

  12. I would definitely go for associate European status if we do leave Europe. I would prefer to stay in of course but don’t want to lose my status as a European citizen. I have many European friends and colleagues and spend some considerable time in Portugal where I used to live and work.

  13. I’m glad you’re supporting this. I really hope that some means will be found to stop/reverse Brexit, or to retain citizenship on an individual basis (perhaps analogous to Nansen Passports).

    I deeply regret not leaving Britain before now, but I’ve never had a steady enough career (part of the precariat) and had (until last year) commitments re: ageing parents. Now I’m 52 and too poor to move anywhere.

    But it matters to me to be a ‘fellow citizen’ of people I care about on the Mainland. I’m a historian and art historian by education, a published writer. I grew up on Classical and Scandinavian and Celtic mythology. I studied Latin, Greek, French and a bit of Italian at school. I’ve read and studied widely in European literature and history. I worked for 3 years in JEP/Doors Open Days as co-ordinator for Scotland, and attended conferences and workshops in Strasbourg with people from all over Europe. My ‘country’ is not a nation-state: it is all the people now and past with whom I share interests and values and ideas. I had hoped that the internet would be moving more people towards this, not drawing lines through our lives.

    I do not regard anyone as having the moral right to deprive me of the only part of my citizenship that approximates to who I am culturally, intellectually and imaginatively. No-one should be robbed of citizenship against their will and without their consent.

  14. I have only today found this page. I have been looking for ways to maintain my European Citizenship. I hope one of them works out.

  15. Well, if we come out of Europe, I think Scotland will win a vote on independence. Subsequently the Scots will garner to rejoin Europe and “little England” will be left much poorer. It is like dominos, once one falls, the whole lot goes. We are stronger together. People at work tell me I voted to leave as am worried about immigration and illegal immigrants, but being in the club helps both sides work together to keep people safe. Out of it, we are on our own. Madness!

  16. I left Britain over 40 years ago. Was never at home there and didn´t miss it. I thought no more about it until this Brexit nonsense started. As a serial migrant, I´ve lived in several countries, then retired to Spain at the end of 2015. My bottom line is that I will never return to Britain. I retained no links with Britain and had no vote in the referendum of 2016, nor in any relevant election. When I qualified for another nationality there were too many other demands on the money it would cost. I totally identify with Europe, but have no allegiance whatever to Britain. If anything I can do will help people like me keep our offcial European citizenship, please let me know. It is very important.

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