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Let UK nationals keep EU citizenship, says London mayor Sadiq Khan

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Let UK nationals keep EU citizenship, says London mayor Sadiq Khan
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London Mayor Sadiq Khan is calling on the European Union and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to allow UK nationals to keep their EU citizenship.

Speaking to Euronews during a visit to Brussels, Khan said he is campaigning on the issue for "those of us who want to stay part of Europe and the European Union through an associated citizenship.

"So we could, for example, move around Europe. We could if we wanted to study in Europe, we could work in Europe and enjoy the benefits of the European Union."

Former Belgian Prime Minister and current MEP Guy Verhofstadt has also previously touted the idea of associated EU citizenship. He met with Khan during his visit to the Belgian capital.

The plans are unlikely to become reality though as it would require treaty change from the EU and the UK government has repeatedly said that freedom of movement will stop at the end of the year.

The Mayor of London is resigned to the fact that "in the short to medium term, there's no possibility of us rejoining the European Union" but says he will continue campaigning for Brits who want to keep their ties with the EU.

Read more: ‘Speak English’ in order to work in UK, Britain tells post-Brexit migrants

He added "I've written to Boris Johnson yesterday to say to him when he starts negotiations in March in earnest to discuss with the EU the possibility of an associated citizenship. I accept we’ll leave the single market. I accept my government doesn't want to have free movement of people.

"I accept there are challenges relation to reciprocity. But also, I wanted to speak to European politicians to explain to them that there are many of us who have tried without success to find an Irish relation or an Italian relation or a Polish relation to keep a European passport."

Khan also believes that EU institutions need to be more diverse and says the lack of diversity has left many Europeans feeling disconnected to how the bloc is run.

"I'm not sure the European Union, those in positions of power and influence, properly reflect the society we are now in 2020... unless it adapts and evolves to keep abreast with the pace of change in Europe, it will be even more alienated from those people whose confidence it needs to survive."

The 49-year-old is also seeking to survive the next London mayoral elections which are due to take place in May. Throughout his time in office relations with US President Donald Trump have been thorny.

"When I look around the world I see the rise of populist nativist movements. I see leaders trying to divide people rather than unite them. You've got to call them out. And I think Donald Trump, in relation to what he said about people who are gay, people who are Mexican, people who are Muslim women, you know, are things that I disagree with. And I'm not afraid to call him out on that."

The full Global Conversation between Sadiq Khan and Euronews Political Editor Darren McCaffrey is available to watch at the top of this screen.