European Union (EU) citizenship is conferred, with few exceptions, on all citizens of the 28 member states. It affords the right to free movement, settlement, employment and trade across the union, as well as protection under EU laws.
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In 2019, when the UK is scheduled to exit the bloc, around 65 million people are probably going to have their EU citizenship removed. A European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) to the European Commission seeks to make sure no person will ever have to lose their EU citizenship, once gained, if their state leaves the union. This petition, calling for “Permanent European Union Citizenship,” was registered on July 23, 2018. Over 64,000 people have signed it as of August 28.
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An ECI is a lesser-known EU mechanism that allows citizens to directly propose policies and raise issues with the European Commission. After being registered, such an initiative has to gather at least 1 million statements of support from EU citizens, including certain quotas from at least a quarter of member countries, within a year of registration. If such a petition reaches its goal, the commission will decide whether to take action or not, which it must justify.