The United Kingdom may soon be leaving the European Union, but many of its citizens – especially those that live and work abroad in member states such as the Czech Republic – are fighting to maintain their rights as EU citizens.
The Guardian reports that a new proposal has been submitted by EU MEP Charles Goerens to current draft legislation on possible EU changes.
“The idea is simply to guarantee those who want it some of the same rights they had as full EU citizens, including the right of residence in the EU, and to be able to vote in European elections and be represented by an MEP,” Goerens says.
For Britons, this would mean maintaining the rights they currently enjoy as EU citizens in a post-Brexit world. But what would they – or their country – have to give up in return?
From an individual’s perspective, the stance seems reasonable. Logically, however, EU states would probably request the same in return – that their citizens maintain similar rights in the country that has left the EU.
Given the anti-immigration stance that was one of the key factors in the Brexit leave campaign, this seems like an unlikely scenario for current UK leaders to propose.
Still, that hasn’t stopped UK citizens from trying.
Five months ago, Tom Gibson started a petition on Change.org titled “EU – Offer European Citizenship to UK citizens.” It’s currently 50,000 signatures short of its 200,000 goal.
“We are proud European citizens,” the petition states. “We have supported and been supported by the EU for decades, and we fought to Remain in Europe.
“Please offer a way for us to stay.”
British expats aren’t alone in their fight to retain rights. Prime Minister Theresa May has also been working to arrange a reciprocal rights deal for UK expats living across EU countries.
Yesterday, The Telegraph reported that she was close to securing an arrangement that would protect the rights of both UK citizens abroad and EU citizens in the UK.
A few EU member states have yet to agree to the deal, but it’s speculated an announcement could be made at next month’s EU summit in Brussels.