London Mayor Sadiq Khan planned to use a trip yesterday to Brussels to implore EU negotiators to be open to continued free movement for Britons through “associate citizenship.”
With the backing of former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, Khan said the offer of such rights to those who wish to retain them should be at “the heart” of the coming negotiations over the future relationship.
The idea of “associate citizenship” was first raised in late 2016 by Verhofstadt, who was then the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator.
The offer would be of continued freedom of movement and residence around the bloc for those who wished to retain such rights. Such a status would also protect rights in healthcare, welfare and workplace conditions, and likely the right to vote in European Parliament elections.
The chances of such an initiative making headway in the negotiations are extremely limited, as it would be unlawful under EU legislation.
There is unlikely to be appetite for any rewriting of treaties among the 27 member states, given the UK government’s hostile attitude to the free movement of EU nationals who wish to live and work in Britain.
Khan, who was to meet EU Head of Task Force for Relations with the UK Michel Barnier and European Parliament President David Sassoli during his visit, said he believed the idea still had merit.
“Like so many Londoners, I am heartbroken that we are no longer a member of the European Union, but that doesn’t mean our country’s future can’t be closely linked with the rest of Europe,” he said.
“The prime minister says his job is to bring the country together and move us forward, and I cannot think of a better way of reconciling the differences between British voters who wanted to leave, and the millions of Londoners and British nationals who still feel and want to be European,” he said.
“There would be support from millions of Londoners and British nationals who are devastated they are losing their rights as EU citizens,” he added. “As the UK and EU start their next phase of negotiations, I want this issue of associate citizenship to be at the heart of talks about our future relationship.”
Verhofstadt, who has the backing of the European Parliament to be chair of a new conference on the future of Europe involving all the EU institutions, said he believed that Brussels should be open to the concept.
“The Maastricht Treaty created the concept of ‘European citizenship’ and I am in favor of using this now as a basis for people who want to keep their link with Europe,” he said. “It is the first time in the history of our union that a member state leaves, but it is not because the UK government wanted exit that individual citizens have to lose their connection with the continent.”
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
‘CHAPITOS’: An ex-DEA agent said the sons of the former cartel head are engaged in a battle for control, with the health of the man temporarily in charge a factor The fight for control of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s legacy spilled into the open on Thursday after a gun battle between rival Mexican gangs left 16 dead, authorities said. The 16 men, heavily armed and wearing bulletproof vests, died in a six-hour running shootout near the rural town of Tepuche in northwestern Sinaloa province. “A van with seven bodies was located” after an initial clash, while nine bodies were discovered following a second exchange, Sinaloa Minister of Security Cristobal Castaneda told reporters. Castaneda said that Wednesday’s clash near Tepuche, 25km from the capital of Sinaloa, Culiacan, was “part of a struggle