In a speech at London’s Lancaster House earlier today, Prime Minister Theresa May revealed that all EU citizens will be allowed to register to vote in the upcoming general election.
Standing alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, May told the gathered group of journalists that allowing everyone in the European Union to vote in the June 8th General Election has been agreed as part of the wider negotiations for Britain’s Brexit deal.
She said: ‘I informed my Brussels counterparts of my request to hold a general election two days before the news was made public, and after a series of meetings senior EU figures agreed to this happening on the condition that a postal vote or e-vote is given to anyone within the European Union who wishes to take part.’
‘Therefore, I am delighted to be giving millions of people across the continent the chance to sample Great British democracy for the very first time.’
Speaking in French, Mr Juncker added: ‘As this election was called during a time of withdrawal negotiations, under EU law this had to gain the approval of both the European Parliament and the European Commission.’
‘Thanks to the hard work of our chief negotiators Guy Verhofstadt and Michael Barnier, we were able to come back with an approval decision within just a few hours, and we decided that a general election would only be appropriate if the whole of the European Union was given a voice.’
‘After all, the outcome will affect the final Brexit deal that is agreed, and this in turn will affect every other EU member state – therefore it is only fair that every EU citizen should be given a vote if they decide to register.’
At the time of writing, only five EU nations have indicated that they will allow their citizens to take part in the British General Election: Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia.
We spoke to a Polish citizen who told our Chief Reporter that she was ‘beside herself with excitement’ about getting the chance to ‘shape Britain’s Brexit deal.’
Aliona Jakovski said: ‘I have been watching all of the news about Brexit with a great deal of sadness, but now I am delighted that my voice will be heard. If I am able to contribute towards a soft Brexit, then surely this is better than a hard Brexit, or even a really hard Brexit.’
‘In my view, Brexit needs to be as soft as possible for the benefit of all of Europe, perhaps almost flaccid in nature.’