Dear Guy and Charles,
Possible mechanism to enable an EU Citizenship permit: EU revenues are a tiny amount per annum per capita and a large percentage is from sales taxes and duties. When a person is resident in a EU country then those opting in should not have to pay any extra money as they are in effect paying the EU costs from a skim of the tax payments via the host country.
For simplicity sake here is how it could run: issue a EU citizenship permit and have a waters edge on its effect and offer it as a grandfathering agreement. That then eliminates any legal limbo for any British citizen alive today for life in the EU-27 (i.e. the EU-28 less the UK).
Such a permit should only be issued from a EU-27 country with evidence of activity in a EU-27 country e.g. residence, or study or retirement and must be applied for from within the EU-27 and not an overseas application. Thus it dovertails into existing treaty rules making it easier for EU-27 to issue this pan-EU-27 Citizenship permit that is enabled by a EU re-entry visa that is issued at EU border control plus the existing treaty rules on activity.
An annual fee makes little sense as a resident in an EU-27 would already be paying money to the EU via sales taxes and duties and so should retain EU Parliament voting rights but it is unfair that they then pay twice for the same rights. An EU Citizenship permit holder outside of the EU e.g. someone who was resident but has left the EU permanently would get no vote and so need not pay a fee to not vote. If they then re-enter the EU then they can renew their EU residency per treat rules (grandfathered for citizens) and EU Citizenship permit. A one-off fee would be reasonable for issuing any ID cards and administration costs. A grandfather agreement means it does not apply to any other accession countries nor is a standalone right for the non-EU world.
That would simplify the system and ensure the least harm to all existing British citizens resident in the current EU-27 plus any British citizens planning on study or residency. An anti-EU “Leaver” would not utilise such a scheme but with over half the British population pro-EU including a majority of younger British and with just a minority of extremists anti-EU managing to damage the British voting system and twist the electorate against the EU to get a tiny margin, this eases the horror of what has been inflicted upon us by this extremist minority.
We have seen the UK contriving to deprive us of our EU Citizenship. History has had this happen before in Europe and we cannot let this happen again. EU Citizenship is not the competency of the member state but is granted by the EU so the EU can’t be complicit in enabling its wholesale theft. We will fight for the UK to return to the EU (via Article 49 or some other fast track process) and but we need the breathing space for this to happen. The legal limbo we’re looking at and the cliff face of a “hard brexit” will sap out strength and resources and potentially create a million European citizen refugees. We had good reason to believe the EU had stopped the risks of citizens of Europe being turned into refugees but looks like we have some cracks in the European project.
The UK is still a democracy though and so both article 50 can be withdrawn legally and even if an agreement proceeds article 49 can be started democratically. The government of the day is ephemeral but human citizens are permanent and persist beyond the short lifetime of one poll. With a tiny margin our government has enabled demagoguery and division and it does not speak for those of us that do not want what it is offering and we can and will get rid of this government at another democratic poll.
The EU grandfathering citizen rights will cement a bond that will survive the one opinion poll that our government has hijacked for its own purposes. Please support us EU citizens in our time of need.