‘Treat Britons in EU well’ say MEPs
An MEP’S resolution calling for better rights for Britons in the EU passed by 610 to 29, with 68 abstentions.
The MEPs urged EU states to let resident Britons continue voting in local elections (see here) and advised that Britons living in the EU before the end of the transition period should keep free movement to live and work across the EU. Such issues could still be negotiated this year.
MEPs also recalled how many Britons opposed losing their rights as EU citizens and said the EU should look at ways to mitigate this.
The Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt visited the UK to ask Brexit Minister Steve Barclay to support the ideas.
Speaking on Radio 4, he said he is a leading contender to head a new body to look at EU reform, called The Conference on the Future of Europe, and he expects it to look again at the possibility of “associate EU citizenship” for those Britons who still feel European.
He said MEPs would continue to scrutinise how Britons are treated in the EU and he encouraged countries to adopt simple “declarative” systems for Britons to secure their rights.
He said he expects the UK to rejoin the EU one day.
A number of MEPs made passionate pro-British speeches in the run-up to Brexit, including centre-right Spanish MEP Esteban Gonzàles Pons, who addressed Britons who have made their home in Spain.
He said: “We are friends. No matter what happens, you will always belong to Europe.”