The Brief – Save us from Brexit, Europe, and we’ll save you

The Brief is EURACTIV's evening newsletter [Shutterstock]

Ever since the UK voted to chain itself to the Brexit Titanic, Europeans have by-and-large said what a shame it is that the millions-strong cohort of pro-EU Brits will be dragged out of the bloc kicking and screaming. Now’s the time to back up that pity with action.

First thing’s first, click on this link and sign this petition that calls on the Commission to make sure that EU citizenship is a permanent right once attained.

Thank you.

European Citizens’ Initiatives are a relatively new democratic tool that affords the general public another option to affect the rules and laws that govern our day-to-day lives.

The latest one to be green-lit by the European Commission could be the most important yet, as it might end up dictating the future rights of millions of British citizens who want to remain a part of the “European family”.

As things stand, Brits are set to be stripped of their citizenship, although, let’s face it, nothing is clear in these talks.

Over the next 12 months, the petition will be open for signatures. If by the end of that time the cause has attracted more than a million stamps of support from seven different member states, the EU executive will have to act on the request.

That may be the catalyst for legislation or, at the very least, a crystal clear reason why it is not within Commission competences to act.

But a million signatures from seven nations might not be enough to exert pressure on this ‘political’ Commission or its successor. So we’re going to need tens if not hundreds of signatures from every EU member to have the desired effect. Something that can’t be ignored.

This idea has already attracted some criticism that it takes away a negative aspect of leaving the EU and that it could suddenly make leaving a more attractive option for other EU countries that bear a certain grudge against Brussels.

Nip that idea in the bud right now.

Support for the EU has only increased since June 2016, not declined as some expected. If Brussels were to agree to this incredible gesture of solidarity then its approval rating would skyrocket. It’s a simple question of PR.

Not enough to sway you? Listen. Europe is on the verge of suffering from a nasty case of, let’s face it, fascism-in-populist-clothing and another nasty bout of infection is on its way across the Atlantic, just in time for the European elections next year.

You’re going to need all the antibodies you can get your hands on to fight this one off, because an initial round of treatment to counter far-right propaganda has not been particularly effective.

Indeed, Brexit is one of the most noticeable flare-ups so far, closely followed by the election results in Austria and Italy.

But when the chips are down and it all looks hopeless, you know who you can rely on to help give blackshirts a damn good kicking? Us Brits. Particularly the ones that already call the mainland home.

So look at this petition as an indirect recruitment drive. Save our future and you can count on us to try and save yours.

Here’s the link again, in case you weren’t initially convinced. We’ll keep on reminding you…

The Roundup

Climate change is wreaking havoc up north, where an unusually hot and dry summer has sparked huge wildfires, particularly in Sweden. EU efforts have so far been lauded for coordinating firefighting assistance from across the continent.

The illegal trade in cigarettes between Africa and Europe is particularly bad in the French port of Marseilles, where smugglers appear to have the upper hand over law enforcement.

A trade deal between Europe and South America is still being hashed out. EU negotiators are downplaying hopes that it might be ready to launch this year.

Migration quotas are still a taboo subject in the Visegrad nations, who now claim that the EU is aping positions that the four countries held two years ago.

Malta’s PM insists an inquest has cleared him of involvement in the damaging Panama Papers scandal, his Irish counterpart has embarked on a Brexit-education tour of Europe and Spain’s ousted conservatives have a new leader.

French insurance companies have decided to divest from some of Germany’s energy companies, while Angela Merkel warned that meeting 2030 climate goals will be “challenging“.

The UK’s new Brexit negotiator, Dominic Raab, met EU counterpart Michel Barnier last week. The Frenchman made it clear what he thought of the UK’s White Paper, while Raab later suggested that Westminster could renege on its exit fees if there’s no trade deal.

Look out for…

Hopefully not nuclear war, after Donald Trump tweeted this insane message to Iran’s leader, in what was definitely, absolutely not an attempt to distract people from something else happening this week.

Views are the author’s

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