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'Choose Freedom' - the EU Passport Campaign launches across Europe

2017-02-13

February 13, 2017, UK/Spain. Press Dispensary. A European citizens' initiative called the 'Choose Freedom Campaign' is being launched by Glyn Hughes, a 57-year-old engineering designer from Derbyshire, in conjunction with Sue Wilson, Chair of the campaign group, Bremain in Spain (http://www.bremaininspain.com ). 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.

A European Citizens' Initiative is an EU scheme that allows citizens to propose legislation, if they can garner the support of one million signatories across the European Union.  A minimum of seven European countries must be represented, with a requirement for a specific quota of votes from each of those member states. Once that quota is met, the remaining votes can come from anywhere within the EU. 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 - until now. Already, 4,000 people have voted for the initiative via http://www.bremaininspain.com/events/choose-freedom/.

To qualify, EU Citizens (nationals of a member state) must be old enough to vote in the European Parliament Elections but they do not have to be registered to vote. The rules for voting are fairly complex and vary from country to country. For those EU citizens that have taken advantage of their right of freedom of movement, the voting rules are even more complicated and varied. Some EU countries will give EU migrants the choice of voting in their country of citizenship or their country of residence.

UK citizens living in the EU will be governed by the rules of their country of residence. However, a unique situation, adversely affecting only citizens of the UK and Ireland, is that the rules of France, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Austria and Portugal prevent them from voting altogether. The European Commission has no control over these, as each country makes its own voting decisions.

the EU is able to issue EU passports, which would come with all the associated rights of citizenship
Bremain in Spain

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

Glyn Hughes (sponsor) and Sue Wilson (second), of the Bremain in Spain campaign group, have up to a year to collect the one million votes required in the referendum. All votes will be collected online and some proof of ID or residency will be required, varying from country to country. 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 three months to decide on a course of action, and to explain the reasons for their decision.

Sue Wilson says: "It's such a shame that UK citizens living in the excluded countries, such as France and Portugal, will be prevented from voting because of the rules of their country of residence. We will be asking them to request that their friends, family and neighbours vote on their behalf - we hope in very large numbers.  It is hugely beneficial that the criteria for voting is based on age and not on being registered to vote. For those living in Europe, who have been denied the opportunity to vote because of 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 to which we are prepared to go to hold onto those rights and freedoms."

- ends -

Notes for editors
Bremain in Spain is a group that is campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living and working in Spain. Run by a team of volunteers and chaired by Sue Wilson - a resident of the Valencian Community - the group advocates a tolerant and outward-looking society. It believes this is best achieved by the UK remaining a member of the EU and citizens retaining freedom of movement. Bremain in Spain is actively campaigning on a number of initiatives. During January 2017, Sue Wilson appeared in front of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Exiting the European Union at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, to present evidence about the concerns of UK citizens living in Spain. Since then, the group has appeared frequently in the media. Bremain in Spain is affiliated to Britain for Europe.

Useful links:
Choose Freedom website/voting: http://www.choosefreedom.eu/
Bremain in Spain/Choose Freedom voting: http://www.bremaininspain.com/events/choose-freedom/
Bremain in Spain:       http://www.bremaininspain.com/
EU Press Release:       http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-4436_en.htm

For further information please contact
Sue Wilson, Chair
Bremain in Spain
Email:
Jo Chipchase
Press Officer
Email:
Tel: + 34 696 056 328

Alastair Stewart
Deputy Press Officer
Email:
Tel: + 44 7549 504281

Site: www.bremaininspain.com
Facebook: Bremain in Spain
Twitter: @BremainInSpain

Media contacts

Sue Wilson, Chair
Email:
Jo Chipchase
Press Officer
Email:
Tel: + 34 696 056 328

Alastair Stewart
Deputy Press Officer
Email:
Tel: + 44 7549 504281

Site: www.bremaininspain.com
Facebook: Bremain in Spain
Twitter: @BremainInSpain

Keywords/tags
Brexit EU passports European citizens initiative Choose Freedom Bremain in Spain European union EU EU citizens rights freedom of movement UK citizen rights

Permalink: http://bit.ly/EUPassport

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Bremain In Spain is a group that is campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living and working in Spain. www.bremaininspain.com
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Bremain In Spain is a group that is campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living and working in Spain. www.bremaininspain.com

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Bremain In Spain Logo

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Bremain In Spain is a group that is campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living and working in Spain. www.bremaininspain.com
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Bremain In Spain Logo

Bremain In Spain is a group that is campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living and working in Spain. www.bremaininspain.com

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Bremain In Spain Logo

Bremain In Spain Logo
Bremain In Spain Logo
Bremain In Spain is a group that is campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living and working in Spain. www.bremaininspain.com
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Bremain In Spain Logo

Bremain In Spain is a group that is campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living and working in Spain. www.bremaininspain.com

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Choose Freedom with an EU Passport!

Choose Freedom with an EU Passport!
Choose Freedom with an EU Passport!
There maybe another to keep your EU citizenship and freedom of movement in the EU. Vote and ask the EU to issue EU Passports -www.bremaininspain.com/events/choose-freedom
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Choose Freedom with an EU Passport!

There maybe another to keep your EU citizenship and freedom of movement in the EU. Vote and ask the EU to issue EU Passports -www.bremaininspain.com/events/choose-freedom

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