Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Can Britons keep their EU citizenship after Brexit?

Posted by hkarner - 12. April 2017

Date: 12-04-2017
Source: The Economist

Though many would like to, it looks both legally and politically unlikely

MOST of those who regret Britain’s decision to leave the European Union now accept that Brexit is going to happen. But many are still scrabbling for an escape hatch. The 1m-odd Britons living elsewhere in the EU hope to have their residency rights confirmed early during the negotiations. Anyone with an Irish grandparent can apply for Irish citizenship—and plenty of people are. Marriage to an EU national is another trick, as is buying Maltese or Cypriot citizenship (though the price is steep).

The latest wheeze is to find a way to allow regretful Britons to retain their EU membership on an individual basis. Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister who is now the European Parliament’s point man for the Brexit negotiations, is promoting voluntary “associate EU citizenship” for Britons, an idea first put forward by a fellow MEP from Luxembourg, Charles Goerens. A paragraph in the parliament’s resolution on Brexit, adopted on April 5th, calls for some action to mitigate Britons’ loss of EU citizenship.
The benefits of such citizenship include freedom to live, work and travel around the 28-country union, to vote in European elections, to have access to health care in other EU countries and to take part in Erasmus student exchanges. Mr Verhofstadt’s idea is that, after Brexit, individual Britons should be allowed to retain most of these benefits, possibly for an annual fee (though any suggestion that Britain might reciprocate would fall on deaf ears).

Yet as Adrienne Yong of the University of Hertfordshire argues, EU citizenship is not something that can just be bought and sold. Article 20 of the EU treaty, which created the concept, also makes clear that EU citizenship is additional to, not in place of, national citizenship of a member state. This means that a treaty change would be needed to confer EU citizenship on any individual from a non-member country. Experience shows how hard it is to agree upon and ratify any such change.

So a few remainers have hit on another plan, which is to challenge the government’s right to take away their EU citizenship. They cite the 2010 Rottmann case, in which the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that a country (in this instance, Germany) could remove an individual’s EU citizenship only if its actions were “proportionate”. Some talk of using this precedent to justify pursuing a legal case against Brexit all the way to the ECJ.

No doubt lawyers can be found to take the case (so far lawyers are doing well out of Brexit). Yet few believe it would succeed. Catherine Barnard, a Cambridge law professor who is a member of The UK in a Changing Europe academic network, says the Rottmann case is not a precedent, because it concerned an individual whose loss of German citizenship left him stateless, which Brexit will not do. Moreover, to rule that Brexit was disproportionate would undermine the whole purpose of Article 50 of the treaty, which allows countries to choose to leave the EU.

Ms Barnard fears that loose talk of retaining EU citizenship will merely mean more disappointment for those opposed to Brexit. It might also irritate the government of Theresa May. Any notion of dual British/EU citizenship post-Brexit would raise questions over divided loyalty. Mrs May made her feelings clear last October, when she told her party conference: “If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere.” She is unlikely to welcome any plan for Britons to keep EU citizenship after Brexit.

Advertisements

Kommentar verfassen

Bitte logge dich mit einer dieser Methoden ein, um deinen Kommentar zu veröffentlichen:

WordPress.com-Logo

Du kommentierst mit Deinem WordPress.com-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Twitter-Bild

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Twitter-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Facebook-Foto

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Facebook-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Google+ Foto

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Google+-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Verbinde mit %s