Brits to be offered 'associated citizenship' in EU under new proposal

Plan would allow UK nationals the right to live, work and travel freely around European Union after Brexit

(Image credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

British nationals who want to retain their right to live and work in the European Union could become "associate members" of the bloc under a proposal to be reviewed by the European Parliament.

Charles Goerens, a liberal MEP from Luxembourg, added the idea to a report tabled for discussion on possible changes to "the current institutional set-up" of the union.

He suggests creating a "European associate citizenship for those who feel and wish to be part of the European project but are nationals of a former Member State", offering a potential loophole for disaffected Remain voters and Brits currently working and living in the EU.

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"It's clear the UK is divided and many people want to remain part of Europe," Goerens said. "The idea is simply to guarantee those who want it some of the same rights they had as full EU citizens."

With the government appearing to favour a hardline stance against freedom of movement, it is "highly likely" British nationals "will no longer enjoy the automatic right to travel freely, live and work across the continent", in any reciprocal agreement with the EU, The Guardian reports.

Goerens' proposal would offer people a way to partly circumvent such a Brexit deal and keep the same rights afforded to them previously.

It would also give Brits who opt to become "associate citizens" of the EU the right to vote for an MEP to represent their interests in Brussels.

Goerens said his proposal had "struck a chord" with many UK nationals. "A lot of people from Britain have got in touch with me to ask what they can do to make sure it happens," he said.

However, some Leave campaigners reacted with horror and scorn to the idea of a "two-tier" society, which would allow some people to enjoy the privileges of EU membership while other do not.

Jayne Adye, the director of the Get Britain Out campaign, told The Independent the proposal was "an outrage" and accused the EU of "attempting to divide the great British public at the exact moment we need unity".

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