LibLink: Roger Roberts: The future of our European citizenship

Roger Roberts is pressing the government on the future of European citizenship this afternoon in a question in the House of Lords.

In an article for Politics Home, he sets out the issues at stake:

Our citizenship as members of the EU, is totally dependent upon the United Kingdom remaining a member of the EU. Once that is lost we, also, are denied that citizenship. There is a move in the EU Parliament to make citizenship available on an individual basis. We apply, pay our fee, and are granted a form of EU citizenship. The problem is that there can be few advantages – how does one person enjoy EU laws on Climate change and his neighbour not? How does one member of the family enjoy freedom of travel whilst the rest are left standing at the airport?

Over half the UK’s population were born after the UK joined the Union in January 1973. They were born as citizens of the EU – a birth right. The rest of us, already born, acquired that citizenship. Now that status risks being torn away from us. That is why I am raising this with the Government today. There is much that is still unclear about the Government’s plans for Brexit but they should clarify the position of the millions of people born 1973 that have always been European.

In the June referendum over 18 million voted to Leave – nowhere near 50% of the United Kingdom’s population of 65 or so million. So a minority are denying the rest of us our citizenship in the EU. I am Welsh, British and European and I would not deny it to any one of my UK colleagues, now the Government has to make clear whether they will make the same commitment.

You can read the whole article here. 

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6 Comments

  • How can you be a citizen of a country that doesn’t exist & is not recognized globally ?

  • BERNARD FRENCH 14th Dec '16 - 3:06pm

    I wholeheartedly agree. The problem with the Associate Membership is that if there is a fee, we have no way of knowing how much and how often, and it appears to exclude a number of the people who are not in a position to afford a substantial fee when they will be struggling to feed their families in an inflationary environment.

  • I don’t want to have to apply to be a European citizen, I want to continue to be one. But if my Government pulls the plus on that, as it seems intent on doing, Associate Membership is an option I would want to take up if available. Some of us would want it on principle, but it would be most useful for people living or travelling within the EU for work or leisure, who could afford a reasonable fee. If people are struggling to feed their families, their situation is not made worse by allowing others to apply for Associate Membership, so that is a fallacious argument. And if our post-Brexit economy really tanks, many may choose to feed their families by finding better paid jobs within the EU – for which Associate Membership would almost certainly be easier and perhaps cheaper than visas and work permits.

  • This article is poor as it is based on the inaccurate statement that the EU existed in 1973. If we are to make a case for continuing EU citizenship, these articles must, at the very least, get the facts right. Otherwise, it becomes very easy for opponents to dismiss the argument.

  • Roger Roberts 15th Dec '16 - 10:20pm

    Article 20 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that: “Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall be additional to and not replace national citizenship.”

  • @ Roger – the Treaty says that – but the Treaty was only signed in 2007. It didn’t retrospectively amend the original Treaty of Rome nor the Maastricht Treaty – and to suggest otherwise plays into the hands of people opposed to the case for continuing EU citizenship. It is simply not true to state people born after 1973 were European Union citizens at birth. To suggest otherwise weakens your argument.

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