Steps to restore freedom of movement for young people are to be welcomed - Yorkshire Post Letters
It’s good news that Britain and France are introducing measures to stimulate school group travel between the two countries and particularly that the more pragmatic Mr Sunak has agreed that French students aged seventeen and under will again be able to visit Britain using just their national identity card.
Furthermore, non-French permanent residents will be able to accompany an organised group from their school without having to undergo the cumbersome process of obtaining a UK visa. I am pleased that the Tories apparently no longer consider all French primary school children as potential terrorists.
This makes economic sense and is common sense. Let’s hope that the new arrangements might eventually apply to all EEA member states plus Switzerland and in due course Ukraine and why not Turkey?
However, I’d like us to go further. If Labour wants my vote the party needs to promise that the Youth Mobility Scheme will be extended reciprocally to all from these countries aged say 19 through 35 at minimal or even zero cost but initially without their dependents being funded.
If after say three years of showing commitment to our country, then permanent residence could be offered with dependents allowed. Might it not also be possible to offer complete freedom of movement with France just as with the Irish Republic?
Such measures would go some way to assuage my feeling of betrayal that my precious European citizenship was stolen from me by the Brexiteers whose demand for a radical re-alignment was shared by less than 40 per cent of the British population.
There now appears to be a majority in all nations of the UK desiring closer links with the EU in economic, cultural, scientific, social and sporting activities.
If Labour were prepared to work with other progressive parties and promote a formal national conversation on future links with Europe it would likely be pushing at an open door.