Pro-EU march in London as Gabriel calls for young Brits to be offered citizenship | News | DW | 02.07.2016
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Pro-EU march in London as Gabriel calls for young Brits to be offered citizenship

Thousands of mostly young anti-Brexit demonstrators have marched through London to urge parliament to keep Britain in the EU. Tory premiership contenders say they won't invoke the bloc's formal exit procedure this year.

Protestors draped in EU flags marched through London's political Westminster district on Saturday in this week's second show of public anger over the shock referendum exit narrowly decided by voters on June 23.

March organizer and university graduate Keiran MacDermott urged people to refuse to accept the referendum as "the final say."

"Let's not leave the next generation adrift … Let's march, let's protest, and let's stop Brexit," he wrote in a social media message.

Britons overall voted last week by 52-to-48 percent to leave the 28-nation bloc, thwarting pro-EU sentiment in London and Scotland.

One of Saturday's protest participants, Italian Pamela Zoni, a resident of Britain for six years, said she was having second thoughts about seeking British citizenship.

Großbritannien Proteste gegen Brexit in London

Anti-Brexit sentiment has generated new words

"I would like a second referendum," Zoni said, adding that the first one was "based on lies."

On Tuesday, thousands of "remain" advocates had already gathered in Trafalgar Square and urged lawmakers to "do your job, vote it down!"

No hurry, say Gove, May

Brexit advocate Michael Gove, one of the ruling Conservative Party's (Tory) candidates aiming to succeed David Cameron as premier, said on Friday he had "no expectation" that Britain would formally deliver its exit papers in Brussels this year.

A similar stance has been expressed by the frontrunner for the party leadership, Theresa May.

Article 50 of the EU's consolidated treaty stipulates a maximum of two years to finalize departure from the moment a nation formally applies to leave the bloc.

Keep calm says the Queen

As she opened the fifth session of Scotland's devolved parliament on Saturday, Queen Elizabeth spoke of the need to remain calm: "We all live and work in an increasingly complex and demanding world where events can and do take place at remarkable speed, and retaining the ability to stay calm and collected can be hard," she said. Her role demands strict public impartiality in political matters.

"As this parliament has successfully demonstrated over the years, one hallmark of leadership in such a fast-moving world is allowing sufficient room for quiet contemplation and reflection which can enable deeper, cooler, consideration about how challenges and opportunities can be best addressed," she added.

German citizenship for resident Brits, says Gabriel

German vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel on Saturday said young Britons already living in Germany should be offered German citizenship.

Speaking at a European conference of his Social Democrats' (SPD) in Berlin, Gabriel said his party had always been in favor of dual citizenship.

"Let's offer it to young Brits who live in Germany, Italy or France so they can remain EU citizens in this country," said Gabriel.

He also called for the EU's executive with 28 commissioners to be downsized, during an interview with the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

Improvements needed, urges Merkel

In a similar vein, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her regular video-podcast on Saturday, called for improvements in the way the EU handles market competition, the labor market and economic growth based on innovative know-how.

Referring to high youth unemployment in EU nations such as Spain and Greece, Merkel said the bloc must offer improvements to the benefit of young people.

ipj/jm (Reuters, AFP)

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