A European Passport could be the perfect solution for those threatened with the loss of EU Citizenship

The Choose Freedom Campaign is a European Citizens’ Initiative that is the brainchild of Glyn Hughes, 57 year old Engineering Designer from Derbyshire. The aim of the campaign is to persuade the European Union to issue EU passports to any EU citizens that are at risk of losing their rights and freedoms, in this case, as a result of Brexit. You do not have to be a UK Citizen or a resident of Spain to take part!

 

 

What is a European Citizens’ Initiative?

A European Citizens’ Initiative is an EU scheme that allows citizens to propose legislation, if they can garner the support of one million citizens across the European Union. To support an ECI at least 1 million signatures are needed, spread across at least 7 EU member countries. (Regulation 211/2011). Citizens’ Initiatives were first introduced with the Lisbon Treaty in 2012, as a way to empower citizens to deliver a better Europe. They have rarely been used up until now.

EU Citizenship vs EU Passport

To date, there have been a number of schemes attempting to attain EU citizenship from the European Union. The main stumbling block is that only Nation states can issue Citizenship, so it is not within the power of the EU to do so. However, what the EU can do, is to issue EU passports, which would come with all the associated rights of citizenship. There already exists (Regulation 1417/2013) the ability for the EU to issue EU passports to diplomats and officials.

Citizens’ Initiative Basic Facts: http://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/basic-facts

You can read the Bremain in Spain Official Press Release here

You can read the European Commission Official Press Release here

OeSD - laissez-passer

The EU Commission has agreed that this form of passport, known as “laissez-passer” can be extended “on exceptional basis and upon due motivation, to special applicants”.

The Commission has accepted that the Choose Freedom application is legally valid on this basis.

Voting rules

The rules for voting are fairly complex, and vary from country to country. UK citizens living in the EU will be governed by the rules of their country of residence. Some EU countries will give EU migrants the choice of voting in their country of citizenship or their country of residence.

However, a unique situation adversely effecting only citizens of the UK and Ireland, is that the rules of France, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Austria and Portugal prevent them from voting altogether if they are officially resident in those countries. If you are not an official resident, then you may vote in the country where you are an official resident. The European Commission has no control over these rules, as each country makes its own voting decisions.

View the table HERE, supplied by the EU, which tells you which country you need to vote in based on your Citizenship and Country of Residence.

Can I Vote?

To qualify, you must be an EU Citizen (national of a member state), and must be old enough to vote in the European Parliament Elections, but you do not have to be registered to vote. Anyone denied the opportunity to vote due to the 15 year rule, can now have a say!

All voting will be done online, and all votes will be verified.

 

How do I Vote?

When you click on the Vote Now button below, it will take you to the European Citizens’ Initiative form. The first question you will be asked is to “Select Country“. Please choose the country where you are officially registered as a resident. You will then be asked for proof of identity and advised which documents are acceptable – this will vary from country to country. Next you will be asked to identify yourself, supply your date of birth, your Nationality, and in some cases, your address. The level of information required will depend on the regulations of each EU country. You will be asked to confirm that the information you have supplied is correct and that you have read the Privacy Statement re data protection.

All you need to do now is click on the Vote Now button.

 

What happens next?

Glyn Hughes (sponsor) and our own Sue Wilson (second) have up to a year to collect the one million votes required in the referendum. Once 1,000,000 votes have been collected then Glyn and Sue will meet with the European Commission in Brussels, before being invited to present at a public hearing in the European Parliament. The Commission would then have 3 months to decide on a course of action, and to explain their reasons for their decision.

“It’s such a shame that UK citizens living in the excluded countries, like France and Portugal, will be prevented from voting due to the rules of their country of residence. What we will be asking them to do is to get their friends, family and neighbours to vote on their behalf, hopefully in very large numbers. On the plus side, it is a huge bonus that the criteria for voting is based on age, and not on being registered to vote. For those living in Europe that have been denied the opportunity to vote due to 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 that we are prepared to go to hold onto those rights and freedoms”.

Sue Wilson – Chair
Bremain in Spain

 

Legal information

The online referendum is to approve:
TITLE: European Free Movement Instrument
SUBJECT-MATTER: Guaranteeing European citizens free movement by a Universal Instrument
MAIN OBJECTIVES: For the better functioning of a free market, in the interest of the Union and in order to comply with the duty of care towards all its citizens, we beg the Commission to delineate a method by which all Europeans of good standing may be granted a signal and permanent instrument of their status and of their right to free movement throughout the Union by way of a unified document of laissez-passer as permitted by Article (4) of Council Regulation 1417/2013, or by another method
PROVISIONS OF THE TREATIES:
Article 45, 48, 57, 77, 78, 79 of the (Consolidated) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
Articles 2(2), 17, 39, 42 and 63a of the Treaty of Lisbon (2007)
Article 1 of the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997)

 

In the Press:

The Independent 13th February 2017
Initiative launched calling for UK citizens to be issued with EU passports after Brexit

The Local.es 14th February 2017
‘Choose Freedom’: EU passport campaign launched across Europe

The Olive Press 14th February 2017
Expat campaign group Bremain In Spain demands EU passports for Brits post-Brexit