EU chief urges Belgium to grant citizenship to EU's UK staff

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EU chief urges Belgium to grant citizenship to EU's UK staff

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BRUSSELS â€" European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday appealed to Belgium to grant nationality to Britons who work at the European Union’s vast executive arm, as Brexit approaches next year.

Amid a stream of praise for Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium, Juncker said he hoped that ‘‘Belgian authorities show the same generosity when it comes to granting Belgian nationality to British public servants who are here in Brussels.’’

A total of 917 British citizens work at the Commission. Some have lived in Belgium for years and are concerned about their future after Britain leaves the bloc next March.

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Juncker said of the British staff seeking Belgian nationality: ‘‘They deserve it.’’

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Addressing the Belgian leader and EU lawmakers, Juncker said Michel is a generous man. ‘‘I am sure and certain that he will take account of our wishes and our remarks,’’ he said.

Michel, for his part, said: ‘‘I’m happy that Belgian citizenship is so attractive, that British citizens are asking to stay to our country.’’

But he noted that the Belgian courts are currently faced with contradictory rulings on how these citizenship applications should be handled.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Source: Google News Belgium | N etizen 24 Belgium

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