The father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is joining the hundreds of thousands of Britons who have already applied for citizenship of a European country as the Brexit transition period comes to an end on New Year’s Eve.
Speaking to RTL radio in France, Stanley Johnson, a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) himself, said he was “very happy” to be applying for French citizenship on the basis of his heritage.
“If I understand it correctly, I am French. My mother was born in France, her mother was totally French as was her grandfather. So for me it is about reclaiming what I already have. And that makes me very happy,” said the 80-year-old Johnson, who spoke in French.
The father of the PM, who voted against his son’s ‘leave’ campaign in the 2016 EU referendum, claimed having ties with the European Union is “important” but asserted “one cannot tell the British people: you are not Europeans.”
“I will always be a European, that’s for sure,” he adds.
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Stanley Johnson joins a list of hundreds of thousands of Britons who have applied for citizenship in the European Union in the lead up to the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc.
Figures published in early 2020, before Britain officially left the EU and entered the ‘transition period’, show that more than 350,000 Britons had applied for nationality of an EU member state since 2016.
Many UK citizens had looked to take advantage of their Irish heritage, with Irish passport applications rising from 7,372 in 2015 to 54,859 in 2019.
France has seen a similar increase in applications, rising from just 320 in 2015 to 3,827 in 2019.
After Britain leaves the EU on Thursday night, UK passport holders will be subject to different rules when travelling to the EU and Britons will no longer be able to move freely across the 27-nation bloc to find work.
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