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BREXIT

Brussels ‘to fast-track offer’ for British nationals in France to remain EU citizens

The European Union’s Brexit negotiators will offer British people a chance to individually remain part of the EU, according to media reports in Britain.

Brussels 'to fast-track offer' for British nationals in France to remain EU citizens
Photo: AFP

There was potentially some good news on Friday for all those Brits who were unhappy about the EU referendum result.  

The Independent newspaper claimed on Friday that Guy Verhofstadt, the man put in charge of Brexit negotiations by the European parliament, will fast-track a proposal that would allow Brits to opt-in and maintain their EU citizenship.

It had already been revealed that the EU was considering a plan to allow Brits to stay as EU citizens but Verhofstadt has now “fast-tracked the idea to the negotiating table”, the Independent writes.

Verhofstadt described the proposal as “very important” and that it had “captured the imagination and hopes” of many British people who wished to retain their rights as EU citizens.

According to the Independent the chief negotiator told the European Parliament's committee on constitutional affairs: “It is an important amendment that has captured the imagination and hopes of many of the 48 per cent of Brits that have voted to remain in the EU. You will all have received many emails about this – and there has been many articles about this.

“It has therefore become a very important issue that cannot await treaty change – as envisaged by MP Charles Goerens when he first tabled it.

“I am therefore proposing to remove it from my report – which after all is concerned with Treaty change – and to include it in the negotiations we will have with the UK government. I as Brexit negotiator for the Parliament will ensure that it is included in the parliament’s negotiating mandate.”

Under the plan Brits would be offered individual “associate citizenship” which would allow them to hold on to their freedom of movement across the Union and therefore live and work wherever in the EU they choose.

They would also be allowed to vote in European elections.

That could potentially save Brits in France the hassle of either having to apply for a long term residency permit – a carte de sejour or trying to get French citizenship, both of which many British nationals in France have been making efforts to get since the June referendum.

READ ALSO: How to get permanent residency in France

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TRAVEL NEWS

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

A week after chaotic scenes and 6-hour queues at the port of Dover, the British motoring organisation the AA has issued an amber traffic warning, and says it expects cross-Channel ports to be very busy once again this weekend as holidaymakers head to France.

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.

Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.

The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.

On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.

In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.

Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos. 

But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.

OPINION UK-France travel crisis will only be solved when the British get real about Brexit

The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.

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