Labour London Mayor to Beg Brussels for EU ‘Associate Membership’ for Britons

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London speaks to the spectators during the Olympics & Paralympics Team GB - Rio 2016 Victory Parade at Trafalgar Square on October 18, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Dan Mullan/Getty Images

In a meeting today in Brussels Sadiq Khan, the Europhile mayor of London, will lobby for the European Union to grant “associate citizenship” for Britons, allowing continued free movement within the bloc.

The anti-Brexit mayor, who will be meeting with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, and the president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, said that free movement should be at “the heart” of negotiations between Britain and the EU.

The proposal would permit UK citizens to retain freedom of movement and residence within the European Union, as well as access to healthcare and other welfare programmes within member state nations. It would also allow Britons the ability to vote in parliamentary elections in the EU.

“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,” Khan told The Guardian.

“The prime minister says his job is to bring the country together and move us forward and I cannot think of a better way of reconciling the differences between British voters who wanted to leave, and the millions of Londoners and British nationals who still feel and want to be European.

“There would be support from millions of Londoners and British nationals who are devastated they are losing their rights as EU citizens. 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,” he added.

The idea of “associate citizenship” in the EU was first floated by the former prime minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, and has since been picked up by the anti-Brexit mayor who said it should be at “the heart” of negotiations between Britain and the EU.

Mr Verhofstadt said last month that the bloc is not only considering associate membership for UK citizens but to other people outside of the EU’s structure, further spreading the global reach of the expansionist bloc.

“My idea is that the European Union and European citizenship has to be possible for a European living somewhere else in the world,” he said.

“Citizenship is not limited to a territorial definition of citizenship. But people who have their links with Europe could keep their citizenship with the European Union, so it’s not about the UK only,” he added.

Verhofstadt admitted that his scheme will not be enacted any time soon, saying: “This is not for now, but is for the future, this European citizenship.”

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