In the aftermath of Britain’s decision to leave the EU, many questions still remain unanswered. How will the both parties move forward from here? What effect will the decision have on citizens living at home and abroad?
One big question is the future of both British expats living in Europe and Europeans living in Britain. After years of free movement, will they be sent packing?
SPD says German politicians should offer young Britons dual citizenship
SPD party member Sigmar Gabriel insists that Germany cannot simply “raise the drawbridge” on the UK’s young citizens who wished to remain in the EU. Despite the fact that Britain voted 52 to 48 percent to leave the EU, a majority of people under the age of 44 voted to remain.
For this reason, says that SPD, Germany should offer young Britons dual citizenship to help the UK maintain contact with the EU.
Gabriel, the German vice chancellor, has said he plans to propose the option of dual citizenship in the country’s national elections next year. Currently, it is generally forbidden for non-EU citizens in Germany.
Speaking at a meeting in Berlin, Gabriel says:
“Let’s offer it to the young Britons living in Germany, Italy or France so that they can remain EU citizens.”
“It’s a good sign that the youth of Great Britain are more clever than their bizarre political elite,” he continued. “For that reason we can’t raise our drawbridge on them. We have to think now about what we can offer Great Britain’s younger generation.”
The Green party has also urged Germany to make it easy for Britons currently living in the country to attain a German passport. Currently, there are a significant number of Brits applying for German citizenship.
General opposition to the ejection of expats
A British Influence poll showed that the majority of UK citizens, even those in the “Leave” party, were heavily against the ejection of EU citizens from the UK. Research for the thinktank British Future by ICM found that 84% of the British public supports allowing EU migrants to stay. This includes 77% of Leave supporters, too.
However, politicians from the UK have suggested that it is not possible to guarantee the status of EU citizens in the UK. They must wait until similar agreements are made for Britons living in the EU.
According to Yvette Cooper, the former shadow home secretary:
“Whatever the new immigration rules are for the future, people on both sides of the referendum campaign all agree that EU citizens who are living and working here now, and British citizens currently living in Europe, should not be affected.”
On Sunday, July 2nd the Telegraph published a joint letter signed by politicians of various parties—both from the Leave and Remain sides, too—as well as businesses, NGO and academics urging the Government to “make a clear and unequivocal statement that EU migrants currently living in the UK are welcome here and that post-referendum changes would apply only to new migrants.”
You can also read a full text of the joint letter here.