Tuesday, 18 February 2020
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, advocated on Tuesday in Brussels that British citizens who so wish should be able to retain their European citizenship and the rights attached to it despite Brexit.
“Like so many Londoners, I am heartbroken that we are no longer a member of the European Union, but that doesn’t mean our country’s future can’t be closely linked with the rest of Europe,” he said.
The Labour Mayor met with several EU officials during his trip, including chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier.
“As the UK and EU start their next phase of negotiations, I want this issue of associate citizenship to be at the heart of talks about our future relationship,” said Khan. “There would be support from millions of Londoners and British nationals who are devastated they are losing their rights as EU citizens.
Today I’m in Brussels, meeting senior EU leaders.
Whilst it’s no secret I wanted to remain in the EU, I spoke to @simonharrisitv about why I’m determined to ensure London continues to thrive despite Brexit.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) February 18, 2020
A lot to be done
“Let’s be frank: there is a lot to be done here in Europe to convince the Member States. Most believe that European citizenship is only possible if it is derived from national citizenship”, reacted Guy Verhofstadt MEP (Renew) after his meeting with Khan, Belga reports.
However, the former Belgian prime minister said he was in favour of the idea, subject to the condition of “reciprocity”, i.e. that the UK offers EU citizens who wish to do so the same rights as British citizens, a condition that seems at odds with the UK position opposed to free movement of persons.
The country left the EU on 1 February, when it entered a transitional period in which it continues to apply EU rules. During this period, which will end on 31 December 2020, the British and Europeans have promised to agree on their future relationship.
The Brussels Times