Ixelles is indeed the Brussels commune with the most British residents. Since last June’s overwhelming referendum result in favour of Brexit, 250 British citizens out of the commune’s 1,500 have requested information on the procedure for acquiring Belgian nationality.
Amongst the latter, 25 have already actually requested British citizenship. This was reported yesterday evening by the Deputy Burgomaster for Europe, Delphine Bourgeois (MR).
During July, Ixelles has received 140 requests for information. Mme Bourgeois analysed, “The United Kingdom’s rejection of Europe has, in recent months, reignited the debate in Brussels, to the extent that the European project and European citizenship was indeed questioned and put into perspective. Such British citizens have a genuine desire to defend both the European ideal but also the concept of EU accession. The fact that British nationals have requested Belgian citizenship is clear evidence of this.”
She added that British European civil servants have chosen to request Belgian nationality, whilst “others are simply requesting that the rules on residence permit acquisition be updated.”
Whilst the future of European civil servants is debated at European level, “we need to find a federal solution as quick as possible,” she argues. She stresses how, for the most part, such civil servants have established strong links with Brussels.