A European citizens’ initiative called the ‘Choose Freedom Campaign’ is being launched in the attempt to protect Britons from losing their EU passport and citizen rights in post-Brexit Europe.
The initiative has been started by Glyn Hughes, a 57-year-old engineering designer from Derbyshire, and Sue Wilson, Chair of the campaign group, Bremain in Spain.
The campaign aims to persuade the European Union to issue EU passports to Britons who are at risk of losing their rights and freedoms as the UK leaves the European Union.
Every Vote Is Important
A European Citizens’ Initiative is an EU scheme that gives citizens a chance to propose a new legislation or a change to existing rules. The campaigners need to collect one million signatures in the support of the initiative. The signatures must come from at least seven European countries. There is also a requirement for a specific quota of votes from each of those member states. As soon as the number of votes from each country meets the requirement, the remaining votes can come from anywhere within the EU. Already, 4,000 people have voted for the initiative.
The campaigners have a year to collect the required one million votes. The votes are being collected online. The rules of the European Citizens’ Initiative require proof of ID or residency. The requirements may differ from country to country.
Having collected 1,000,000 votes, the campaigners will be able to present the initiative to the European Commission in Brussels and at a public hearing in the European Parliament. The Commission would then have three months to decide on a course of action, and to explain the reasons for their decision.
Do I Qualify to Vote?
To qualify, EU Citizens (nationals of a member state) must be old enough to vote in the European Parliament Elections but they do not have to be registered to vote.
Unfortunately, citizens of the UK and Ireland residing in France, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Austria and Portugal cannot vote due to the voting rules of their country of residence.
“It’s such a shame that UK citizens living in the excluded countries, such as France and Portugal, will be prevented from voting because of the rules of their country of residence. We will be asking them to request that their friends, family and neighbours vote on their behalf – we hope in very large numbers. It is hugely beneficial that the criteria for voting is based on age and not on being registered to vote. For those living in Europe, who have been denied the opportunity to vote because of the 15-year rule, this is fantastic news. Whatever the result of the campaign, I hope – at the very least – that it will prove to all European governments how strongly we value our EU citizenship, and the lengths to which we are prepared to go to hold onto those rights and freedoms.”
Sue Wilson, Chair of the campaign group, Bremain in Spain
Read the full story in Bremain in Spain