Britons praise ruling
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.