What is Associate EU Citizenship?

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Since the Brexit vote, some have called for a voluntary “associate citizenship” for individuals who want to remain part of Europe. How would the idea work?

associate citizenshipSince June 23, 2016 – the day the UK voted to leave the EU – many among the 48.1% of the electorate that voted to remain have voiced their concern about the prospect of losing their rights to free movement within the EU.

Although they couldn’t take part in the referendum, EU citizens residing in the UK have added their voice to the former for fear of being symmetrically stripped of their right of residing in the UK.

There have been calls for some consideration of a voluntary citizenship of the EU for British citizens. Most recently, this has crystallised in the form of an amendment to a report before the European Parliament by MEP Guy Verhofstadt on “Possible evolutions of and adjustments to the current institutional set-up of the European Union”.

Brought before the Committee on Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament, Amendment 882 offers citizens from a former Member State what would be known as “associate citizenship.”

“This is the most thoroughly considered of all the suggestions thus far on any alternative arrangement for British citizens post-Brexit”, writes Dr Adrienne Yong, from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK.

The proposal here is for an opt-in under which individuals would have some of the rights guaranteed by the Treaty under Articles 21-22 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU): to free movement, to residency, and to vote and stand for election in the European Parliament.

The effect therefore, would be retention of a form of citizenship of the EU.