Britons could decide to pay to keep their right to live and work in the EU following Britain’s exit from Europe, according to the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator.
MEPs are now set to look at plans which could give British people the right to “associate citizenship” after the country’s divorce from Europe is complete.
That suggestion now has the weight of Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian Prime Minister behind it. He is understood to have held talks with British Brexit Secretary David Davis this week.
Europhile Mr Verhofstadt, who is a supporter of Europe working together as a “United States of Europe” says that he wants to make sure the voices of the 48 per cent of British voters who wanted to remain are heard.
He said: “Many say ‘We don’t want to cut our links. I like the idea that people who are European citizens and saying they want to keep it have the possibility of doing so. As a principle I like it.”
His support provides a boost for the campaign, which means that British citizens may also still have the right to vote in European Parliament elections following Britain’s departure from Europe.
While British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants to trigger Article 50 to begin official exit negotiations by next March, she has suffered a major setback. She has now appealed the decision of the High Court which said she could not begin negotiations without Parliament having a say in the form they should take.
The pay for citizensip suggestion was first put forward by Charles Goerens, who is a Liberal MEP from Luxembourg. Dubbed Amendment 882, the idea will be discussed by the Parliament’s constitutional affairs committee when it meets on December 8.
Mr Goerens said: “Between 15 and 30 million British citizens deeply regret Brexit. My amendment was tabled in order to get European citizenship for those British citizens who want to keep their citizenship.”