According to Theresa May's Twitter:

The UK passport is an expression of our independence and sovereignty – symbolising our citizenship of a proud, great nation. That's why we have announced that the iconic #bluepassport will return after we leave the European Union in 2019.

But did the EU ever force the UK to use burgundy passports in the first place? Are they unable to switch without leaving the Union?

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    The Twitter page contains no direct claim about forcing the UK to use burgundy passports and as such it's currently not notable according to our standards. It's not clear what forcing means here either. – Christian Dec 22 '17 at 19:30
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    Returning to blue after leaving the EU, as a symbol of independence and sovereignty, strongly implies that it's not possible while the UK is a member. – ugoren Dec 22 '17 at 21:52
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    If many people believe it was forced, we should be able to find some examples of claims of that. Let's do that and re-open. – Oddthinking Dec 22 '17 at 22:01
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    @ugoren: I find that argument unconvincing. A divorcee who makes a show of no longer wearing a wedding ring does not imply that it wasn't possible to take off the ring while married. Let's find a more direct claim. – Oddthinking Dec 22 '17 at 22:03
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    @Sklivvz Your example claim link calls the burgundy color a humiliation, but not something that was forced, and indeed it didn't have to be forced to be a humiliation nonetheless. You don't get to reopen just because you anecdotally believe it's notable. You don't reopen for my anecdotes. Prove it first. – fredsbend Dec 26 '17 at 17:07

According to the BBC. no. The EU does not impose passport color restrictions on any member states and several states do not in fact have a burgundy passport.

The EU has mandated several wording and content changes to assist in freedom of movement for EU citizens and as this Guardian article (soft paywall) notes, most of the changes to size, biometrics and other security features are EU regulations passed in order to comply with US and ICAO regulations. If UK passport holders want to enjoy ease of travel around the world they'll still have to keep those parts.

Finally a Wikipedia link on Passports of the European Union.

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    May's "Blue passports" statement is like Trump's claims that he personally "led the charge against the War on Christmas" -- A meaningless non-victory that they talk about as if factual because their utterly ignorant base will believe it without question and it'll make them feel good. – Shadur Dec 26 '17 at 10:40
  • "Dumping the blue for burgundy was a decision taken by the UK in the 1980s after the then EEC (European Economic Community) member states tried to harmonise designs to make life easier for travellers and border officials." Perhaps it's worth noting the burgundy was an EU design and preference. The UK would probably still use blue if the EU never suggested burgundy. – fredsbend Dec 26 '17 at 17:26
  • @Shadur in fact, May's statement is factually correct; she does not actually say that the passport color was dictated by the EU, nor does she say that the change in color is enabled by the departure from the European Union. She could just as well have said "We're abandoning Brexit, but the UK passport is an expression of our independence and sovereignty – symbolising our citizenship of a proud, great nation. That's why we have announced that the iconic #bluepassport will return in 2019." – phoog Oct 23 '18 at 16:27
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    @Phoog So it's a meaningless symbolic gesture to distract the base from the fact that she has absolutely no idea what she's doing and has cocked up even worse than anyone feared. – Shadur Oct 23 '18 at 19:07
  • @Shadur I don't want to guess at the motivation behind the gesture. I am just pointing out that the claim "the UK was forced to use burgundy passports by the EU" is not actually supported by the text of May's tweet. – phoog Oct 23 '18 at 19:37

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