European MEPs’ amendment little more than wishful thinking

Even if it were passed, it’s unlikely to have any legal effect, explains Danish member of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

On November 9, CPH POST ran a story regarding two proposals submitted by members of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) calling for full electoral rights to be extended to foreign residents in EU countries, and also for Brits living in other EU countries to retain some of their union rights should the Brexit go ahead.

READ MORE: Liberal MEPs call for full electoral rights for non-Danish residents from EU countries

A glimmer of hope for Brits?
In the light of the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations, this presented a glimmer of light in the tunnel to Brits, and also went some way to alleviating the concerns of non-Danish people from other EU countries who feel disenfranchised in the country in which they work and pay taxes.

ALDE is the third-largest political group in the European Parliament and consists of liberal, social liberal and conservative liberal national parties from every European country.

CPH POST approached Danish Euro MP Morten Helveg Petersen of the Danish Social Liberal Party, a member of ALDE, for his thoughts on the proposals.

Positive, but no legal effect
He started by saying that “above all, this is a very positive sign of European solidarity and I congratulate my colleagues for taking the initiative to reach out in a positive way to the 48 percent in the UK who voted to remain, and the significant number of Brits living in other EU countries who are understandably concerned over their futures.”

However, he added that “procedurally, this is not a piece of legislation, just an opinion of the parliament, so in the event that these amendments were to be adopted in the final text of this report, they would not have any legal effect.”

Little appetite for amendment
Regarding citizenship issues, he pointed out that “the question of citizenship will always be very much a national competence. I don’t think there would be much appetite among the remaining EU member states to create this kind of system, as it would be seen as a further transfer of sovereignty and also raises significant questions about how issues like tax and social security for those associate citizens would be managed.”

On a more positive note, he “would of course urge all member states to look carefully at the issues related to residency rights and at least consider solutions post-Brexit, which would avoid breaking up families or result in skilled people, who have contributed to their host countries, to be forced uproot their lives. I think these amendments do serve to highlight the importance of addressing these questions. However, much of this will inevitably depend on the tone of the negations following Article 50, and the willingness of the UK government to ensure equivalent rights for EU citizens residing in the UK.”

So there we have it. It certainly doesn’t seem as if a solution is just around the corner, so Brits worried about the Brexit fallout will have to sit tight – or go for dual citizenship.