We might be able to stay on as opt-in EU citizens after Brexit

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Kayleigh Dray
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The referendum may have happened months ago, but, for many Remain voters, the emotional wounds opened up by the UK’s decision to ‘Brexit’ are still as raw as ever.

But it seems as if there may be a solution at hand.

The European Parliament is set to consider a new plan that will allow British Remain voters to opt in and keep their European Union citizenship – along with all of its associated benefits – once the UK leaves the EU.

Those who retain “associate citizenship” will, therefore, be allowed to live, travel, and work across the EU. They will also have the opportunity to vote in European Parliament elections, and vote for who represents them.

Sounds a pretty sweet deal for those who voted Remain, right?

However, there is a “long way to go” before such a deal could be struck.

Charles Goerens, MEP for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, came up with Amendment 882 as a way to give UK the best of both worlds. He explained on his blog: “48% of British voters wished to remain European citizens with all the advantages that this brings. The EU should facilitate associate voluntary EU citizenship for those who, against their will, are being stripped of their European identity.

“Individual EU associate citizenship could provide a practical solution for UK citizens aggrieved by Brexit.”

He continued: “Initial talks with other parliamentarians regarding my amendment have been positive, but there is a long way to go to make this a reality.

“My proposal will ultimately require changes to the EU treaties, but this will be necessary anyway, to remove mention of the UK from the EU treaties after Brexit.”

Goerens added that there would be an opt-in fee involved, though it’s likely that many Remain voters would be more than willing to pay for the chance to stay in the EU.

Amendment 882 will, according to The Independent, be considered by the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee, which is drawing up a report with recommendations on “possible evolutions of and adjustments to the current institutional set-up of the European Union”.

However, somewhat unsurprisingly, the conversation has already sparked an outcry among those who voted Leave, with some describing it as an “outrage”, insisting that it will divide our country more than ever – and claiming that it discriminates against those who wanted out of the EU in the first place.

It’s safe to say that whatever decision is made will prove to be controversial, but, on the whole, it’s given Remain voters everywhere a glimmer of hope.


  • 10. Financial and investment analysts

    Number of successful Express Entry applicants: 446

    Percent of invited applicants: 1.4%

  • 9. Financial auditors and accountants

    Number of successful Express Entry applicants: 494

    Percent of invited applicants: 1.6%

  • 8. Graphic designers and illustrators

    Number of successful Express Entry applicants: 550

    Percent of invited applicants: 1.8%

  • 7. Retail sales supervisors

    Number of successful Express Entry applicants: 669

    Percent of invited applicants: 2.2%

  • 6. University professors and lecturers

    Number of successful Express Entry applicants: 745

    Percent of invited applicants: 2.4%

  • 5. Computer programmers and interactive media developers

    Number of successful Express Entry applicants: 935

    Percent of invited applicants: 3%

  • 4. Software engineers

    Number of successful Express Entry applicants: 940

    Percent of invited applicants: 3%

  • 3. Information systems analysts and consultants

    Number of successful Express Entry applicants: 1,255

    Percent of invited applicants: 4%

  • 2. Cooks

    Number of successful Express Entry applicants: 2,295

    Percent of invited applicants: 7.4%

  • 1. Food service supervisors

    Number of successful Express Entry applicants: 2,356

    Percent of invited applicants: 7.6%


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.