Germany's economy minister and junior coalition party wants to offer Brits German citizenship

 
Jake Cordell
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UK citizens living in Germany should be given citizenship according to the country's economic minister
UK citizens living in Germany should be given citizenship according to the country's economic minister (Source: Getty)

The German vice chancellor has called for UK citizens living in Germany to be given citizenship to protect their rights to live and work across the European Union.

Sigmar Gabriel, a member of the junior coalition partners, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), told a conference in Berlin over the weekend: "Let's offer it to the young Brits who live in Germany, Italy or France so that they can remain EU citizens in this country."

The call comes after a spike in the number of UK citizens making enquiries about obtaining an Irish passport forced the Irish department of foreign affairs to tell people to stop applying unless they had a genuine need as it was creating too great a backlog of applications.

Gabriel claimed Europe was the "best place in the world for freedom, democracy and the chance of social progress," as he urged Germany not to "pull up the drawbridge" in the wake of the UK's vote to leave the EU.

Brexit Britain: What you need to know

Since the decision 10 days ago, fears have spilled across the continent that the vote could trigger a domino effect and embolden anti-EU movements across the continent. The first test could come sooner than many hoped, as Austria's constitutional court threw out the result of May's presidential election due to counting discrepancies.

The far-right Freedom Party, which has questioned Austria's membership of the EU though fallen short of calling for it to leave the bloc, will now get another chance to scoop the contest after falling just 31,000 votes short in the disputed ballot.

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