The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will be heading into the HQ of the European Union in Brussels on Tuesday, the Mayor is expected to lobby the EU member states and officials for “associate citizenship” for Britons to allow continued freedom of movement.
With the backing of the former prime minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt who is a well known European Project fundamentalist, Mr Khan said the offer of such rights to those who wish to retain them should be at “the heart” of the coming negotiations over the future relationship.
Verhofstadt, who was then the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator first mentioned the idea of “associate citizenship” in late 2016 and Mayor Khan seems to have latched onto the idea.
The Government must ensure Londoners and British nationals have the option of retaining their close links to Europe.@GuyVerhofstadt has been a leading voice on how we can provide a path to European citizenship for those in the UK who want it. #LondonIsOpen 🇪🇺 https://t.co/cCoQk0S9Gi
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) February 18, 2020
The offer if accepted would mean the continuation of freedom of movement and residence around the bloc for those who wished to retain such rights. It is also said the status would protect rights such as healthcare, welfare and workplace conditions and possibly even the right to vote in European Parliament elections.
It would be unlawful for this kind of a deal to be approved under EU legislation so the chances of it ever coming to fruition are unlikely. Not to mention it would need to be agreed upon by all European Union members states who are all too aware of how much freedom of movement impacted the vote to leave the bloc.
During his visit, Mr Khan is set to meet with European Union officials such as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, and the European parliament’s president, David Sassoli. It is being reported in the Guardian that Mr Khan will suggest the idea of “associate citizenship” could still be up for grabs if the EU member states would be willing to approve it.
Mayor Khan has previously said: “Like so many Londoners, I am heartbroken that we are no longer a member of the European Union, but that doesn’t mean our country’s future can’t be closely linked with the rest of Europe,
“The prime minister says his job is to bring the country together and move us forward and I cannot think of a better way of reconciling the differences between British voters who wanted to leave, and the millions of Londoners and British nationals who still feel and want to be European.”
He continued: “There would be support from millions of Londoners and British nationals who are devastated they are losing their rights as EU citizens. As the UK and EU start their next phase of negotiations, I want this issue of associate citizenship to be at the heart of talks about our future relationship.”
So far, any attempts by UK citizens in the EU member states to argue in the courts that their loss of EU citizenship was a disproportionate and unjust consequence of Brexit have all failed.
Speaking on the idea of “associate citizenship”, Verhofstadt said: “The Maastricht treaty created the concept of ‘European citizenship’ and I am in favour of using this now as a basis for people who want to keep their link with Europe,
“It is the first time in the history of our union that a member state leaves, but it is not because the UK government wanted exit that individual citizens have to lose their connection with the continent.”
Many on social media voiced their displeasure to Khan’s visit to the EU highlighting the soaring rates of crime in the capital.
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This content was sourced from Unity News Network.