UK rebuffs EU offer of free movement for young people

The British government has snubbed an offer to allow British people aged 18 to 30 access to an EU-wide youth mobility scheme, saying, “Free movement within the EU was ended and there are no plans to introduce it.”  

The ghosts of Brexit still cling to the UK government’s ideology on free movement even as the European Union extends an olive branch in an attempt to normalise relations with the wayward ex-Member State.  

This was made abundantly apparent in comments from Downing Street regarding a blanket offer by the EU to make it easier for British people aged 18 to 30 to work and study in the bloc.  

Via a government spokesperson, the UK leadership has made its position clear, saying, “We are not introducing an EU-wide youth mobility scheme; free movement within the EU was ended and there are no plans to introduce it.” 

The British government has claimed that this refusal is not an outright rejection of the plans, insisting that it is more of a demonstration of the UK’s desire to make deals with individual countries rather than the EU as a whole. Meanwhile, the EU has stated that the deal would have been a short-term agreement rather than a complete reestablishment of former free movement practices.   

According to the terms, the proposed plans would have given UK youth a set time limit to reside in a bloc country that accepted to host them. 

It was initiated after the UK approached several countries asking to form deals. The EU was hoping to streamline the idea to ensure all involved were “treated equally”.  

The UK currently has mobility visa schemes with 10 countries, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with EU citizens glaringly omitted. The bloc is looking to change that by proposing a separate reciprocity plan that allows EU and UK citizens the right to stay in the other’s realms for up to four years. Furthermore, the EU suggests that its citizens should be excluded from paying international fees on universities in the UK, as well as NHS charges.  

Representatives for Downing Street say that the government is open to further discussions on youth free movement plans. 

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