Petition urges EU passports for UK citizens
(UK/SPAIN) - A campaign to persuade the European Union to issue EU passports to any citizens at risk of losing rights and freedoms, as a result of Brexit, was launched Monday.
The 'Choose Freedom Campaign' is an online referendum on the granting of EU Passports - and with them rights of citizenship - to any European. It is launched by Glyn Hughes, an engineering designer from Derbyshire, in conjunction with Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain, a group campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living and working in Spain.
The European Citizens' Initiative, first introduced with the Lisbon Treaty in 2012, is an EU scheme that allows citizens to propose legislation if they can get one million signatures across the EU.
A minimum of seven European countries need to be represented, with a requirement for a specific quota of votes from each of those member states.
Once that quota is met, the remaining votes can come from anywhere within the EU. Citizens' Initiatives were as a way to empower citizens to deliver a better Europe
Schemes to attain EU citizenship from the European Union have not been successful to date. The main stumbling block has been that only nation states can issue Citizenship, thereforfe it it is not within the remit of the EU to do so itself.
However, the EU is able to issue EU passports, which would come with all the associated rights of citizenship.
It is an idea which has already been mooted by Guy Verhofstadt MEP, the European Parliament's lead Brexit negotiator, who said that associate citizenship for Britons should be "on the table" for the UK's Brexit talks.
The EU is already able to issue EU repetition passports to diplomats and officials under EU Regulation 1417/2013.
The Commission has agreed that this form of passport, known as "laissez-passer", can be extended "on exceptional basis and upon due motivation, to special applicants". The Commission has accepted that the 'Choose Freedom' application is legally valid on this basis.
All votes for the petition will be collected online and some proof of ID or residency will be required, varying from country to country.
Once 1,000,000 votes have been collected, the campaign leaders will be awarded a meeting with the Commission in Brussels, before being invited to present at a public hearing in the European Parliament. The Commission would then have three months to decide on a course of action, and to explain the reasons for their decision.