While it might now sound like a fantasy a move is underway to push the idea of a European Green Card to allow British Citizens to move around Europe freely following Brexit.
A campaign led by former Labour MP Roger Casale, who now resides in Florence, Italy is lobbying the European Parliament to issue a card for European citizens who live in another country other than their own that would allow them to move around Europe freely.
“The Green Card would ring-fence the rights that you had as an EU citizen,” Casale told English language Spanish website The Local. “It would create equivalent status,” he said.
So far the petition started by Casale on change.org has 55,000 signatures and is increasing daily.
The idea of having a European Union Green Card could possibly benefit not only the 1.2 million Brits that live in Europe, but also the 3.6 million European citizens who live in the UK.
Under the plan, the EU Commission would apparently issue special rights to UK citizens living in Europe and EU citizens who were resident in the UK before Brexit.
The Green Card could possibly enable those who were already residing in a European country other than their own to retain freedom of movement, a right that would be lost should MP’s agree to Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.
The card could also perhaps help prove that EU citizens had gained resident status in the UK and the same for Britons living in Europe.
Casale has made a point of saying that as things stand the Home Office is not prepared to offer EU nationals who reside in the UK any document to prove they are permanent residents. All information will be digital making it difficult for people to prove they have the rights of settled status.
The former MP for Wimbledon is claiming that “It’s at a critical stage.”
“It was always my view that there would be a problem to rely on the Withdrawal Agreement. The risk of not getting what you want was always too great”
One of the advantages of a Green Card is that both Brexiteers and remainers can agree that it could be beneficial to both UK and European citizens.
“A lot of Leave voters think EU citizens’ rights should have been sorted two years ago, “added Casale.
The EU currently has what they call a Blue Card that they issue to highly qualified non-EU citizens that allows them to reside and work in Europe.
“They already have the setup and the machinery. They only need to change the ink from blue to green,” jokes Casale.
Casale is confident that his proposal would be popular among MEPs but it still remains to be seen if the EU will get on board and back the idea.
Casale also claims that If the UK should decide to leave the European Union without a deal in place UK citizens may be at the mercy of individual Member States regarding their status.
A Green Card might go a long way in providing peace of mind for people whose rights to live and work in Europe appear to be uncertain.