Bri­tons praise rul­ing

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - Front Page - By Dave Jones

A court rul­ing has raised fun­da­men­tal ques­tions about the na­ture of ex­pats’ EU cit­i­zen­ship and the ‘cir­cum­stances in which such es­sen­tial rights can be re­moved’.

A COURT rul­ing has raised fun­da­men­tal ques­tions about the na­ture of ex­pats’ EU cit­i­zen­ship and ‘the cir­cum­stances in which such es­sen­tial rights can be re­moved’.

The judg­ment by an Am­s­ter­dam court has re­ferred ques­tions to the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice (ECJ) in Lux­em­bourg.

Ac­cord­ing to the Va­len­cia­based Bre­main in Spain group, the pur­pose of the case was to es­tab­lish whether EU cit­i­zen­ship rights would au­to­mat­i­cally be lost by Bri­tish cit­i­zens liv­ing in Europe fol­low­ing Brexit.

The case was brought by five Bri­tish na­tion­als in­clud­ing Deb­bie Wil­liams, chair of Br­ex­pats-Hear-our-Voice.

Sue Wil­son, chair of Bre­main in Spain, said: “The ques­tion re­gard­ing our EU cit­i­zen­ship rights has kept many Brits awake at night.

“The pur­pose of the case was to de­ter­mine whether EU cit­i­zen­ship stands alone or is tied in­ex­tri­ca­bly to EU mem­ber­ship.

“Would we au­to­mat­i­cally lose our EU cit­i­zen­ship rights if the UK was no longer a mem­ber state? Our hope was a re­fer­ral to the ECJ, so this is a great re­sult.”

The Am­s­ter­dam court stated it was ‘rea­son­able to doubt the cor­rect­ness of the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Ar­ti­cle 20 of the Treaty on the Func­tion­ing of the Euro­pean Union that the loss of the sta­tus of cit­i­zen of an EU mem­ber state also leads to loss of EU cit­i­zen­ship. On these grounds, pre­lim­i­nary ques­tions will be put to the ECJ’.

Jane Gold­ing, chair of Bri­tish in Europe, said: “The ap­pli­cants have raised fun­da­men­tal ques­tions about the na­ture of their EU cit­i­zen­ship and the cir­cum­stances in which such es­sen­tial rights can be re­moved.

“The ECJ has played a key role in clar­i­fy­ing the scope of EU cit­i­zen­ship and should be asked to iden­tify when those rights end.”

A spokesper­son for Br­ex­pats-Hear-our-Voice added: “This case has al­ways been about seek­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tion for the 46,000 Brits liv­ing in the Nether­lands and the 1.2 mil­lion Brits liv­ing in other EU coun­tries.

“As has been demon­strated in re­cent days, what Brexit means is still ex­tremely un­clear. You can­not play with the lives of 1.2 mil­lion peo­ple as if they are pieces on a chess­board.”

Mrs Wil­son added: “We hope a hear­ing and de­ci­sion will be im­mi­nent, pro­vid­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tion for those liv­ing in limbo.

“What seems clear is that ne­go­ti­a­tions on cit­i­zens' rights can­not be signed off un­til the ECJ has made a rul­ing.”

She claimed that it would be a ‘game-changer’ if the ECJ de­cided that leav­ing the EU did not mean los­ing EU cit­i­zen­ship rights.

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