It’s not Remain ‘cakeism’ to want associate EU citizenship

PUBLISHED: 13:29 21 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:29 21 February 2020

Guy Verhofstadt, European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, poses for a selfie as he joins a group of pro-EU supporters protesting against Brexit. (Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Guy Verhofstadt, European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, poses for a selfie as he joins a group of pro-EU supporters protesting against Brexit. (Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media

Readers respond to claims that it would be wrong for Remainers to campaign for associate EU citizenship.

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Mark Bates might be missing the point of associate EU citizenship (TNE #182).

It would not and could not be an easy passage to living and collecting our pensions abroad. What it could do would be to show the EU, and our own government, that a considerable number of us are not going to give up on the European ideal without a fight.

The proposal has already gained support in other EU countries, especially those threatened with the rise of aggressive old nationalisms. I'd be happy to pay without expecting anything in return other than a card, or maybe a passport cover. I was surprised and pleased to see that the opportunity to vote for a number of 'unassigned' MEPs might be on the table. There is more information at stayeuropean.org.

Polly Brown, Glossop

If Mark Bates is suggesting that associate membership would allow Remainers to "have our cake and eat it", I point out that because of Brexit, we aren't actually having any cake, let alone eating it!

Marianne Crisp, Towcester

MORE: Do Brits really deserve associate EU citizenship?

MORE: More than 120,000 sign up to campaign for associate EU citizenship

MORE: Sadiq Khan calls for associate EU citizenship scheme ahead of Brussels visit

It is not "cakeism" to advocate associate citizenship when millions of us are being robbed of our rights against our will, without our consent.

In terms of cost, however, 500-1,000 euros is too high, especially annually. It must be no more expensive than a standard passport.

A particularly noxious line in Brexit rhetoric has been that EU membership is only of value to a privileged elite. EU citizenship, even a limited associate status, must not be unaffordable to those of us on low/precarious incomes.

Dr M M Gilchrist, Hull

The letter from SE Vickery about associate membership certainly gives credence to the fiction of Remainers being elitist and out of touch. A fee of 500-1,000 euros a year? When apparently about 50% of the population don't have £100 in savings? EU associate citizenship or food. Which to go for?

Bryan Wilson, Edinburgh

- The fight may have changed but the cause remains. Buy The New European every Thursday to read the full mailbag of letters. To have your say email letters@theneweuropean and join our readers' group for more debate.

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