Let Germany Offer Young Britons Citizenship, Merkel Deputy Says

  • Vice chancellor faults U.K.’s ‘strange political elite’
  • Gabriel heads Merkel’s Social Democratic junior partner

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel suggested that Germany could offer citizenship to young Britons, saying they shouldn’t be punished by the majority that voted to leave the European Union in the U.K. referendum.

“They wanted to stay in Europe because they know the world is changing” and the U.K. can’t go it alone, Gabriel said in a speech to a Social Democratic Party conference in Berlin on Saturday. “So it’s a good sign that young people in Britain are smarter than their strange political elite.”

In the 18-to-24 age bracket, more than 70 percent voted ‘Remain’ in the June 23 Brexit referendum, according to YouGov polling, while 52 percent of the country as a whole voted to leave the EU. That split should inspire the Social Democrats to expand their long-standing push for Germany to ease the granting of dual citizenship, Gabriel said.

“Let us also offer it to young Britons who live in Germany, France or Italy, so they can stay EU citizens in this country,” said Gabriel, who heads the SPD, the junior partner in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition.

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