Explaining the legal reasoning behind the anti Brexit Amsterdam court case

Published:  19 Jan at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
When news of the anti-Brexit court case taking place in Amsterdam broke, details were sketchy and may have seemed somewhat confusing.

The profound consequences of a positive judgement following a referral of the case to the European Court of Justice need to be fully understood, according to Jolyon Maugham QC, the British barrister who is funding the legal action. According to Maugham, the legal argument rests on a gap between perception and reality as regards European law as it applies to EU citizenship. Maugham opens his explanation by citing two examples of British expats who stand to lose everything if they lose EU citizenship as a result of Brexit.

The first, Susan, lives with her unemployed, wheelchair-bound husband in Amsterdam. She is a dance teacher on a modest salary, and gives workshops in other EU member states via her free movement rights, the fees from which total half the household's monthly income. Without free movement she cannot travel and will face serious financial hardship.

The second example involves Jessica and James, two British students at a Manchester university who are concerned that, post-Brexit, they may not have an automatic right to return to their expat family in Spain once they’ve received their degrees. Both cases are typical of the dilemmas faced by Britons, and are therefore an illustration of the complexity of the problem.

The Amsterdam case is crucial in that it may prove to be the sensible answer before lives are destroyed. Long-term UK expats in the EU don’t see Brexit as a democratic process, but as something which has been foisted onto their chosen lives by a combination of ignorance and lack of concern.

The question the court was asked to refer to the ECJ was based on the fact that EU citizens have the right to move freely within the Union’s member states, with Article 20 stating nationals of member states are automatically citizens of the EU. In other words, British citizenship is a gateway to European citizenship. However, the article also states EU citizenship is separate and above national citizenship, suggesting it may be legal to have one without the other.

Several ECJ cases already suggest it is just possible that EU citizenship could survive the loss of the national citizenship gateway, leaving the possibility it could be retained by Britons after Brexit. Should this be the result, the consequences would be profound, not just for UK expats but for all UK nationals. Given the perception of the EU by its citizens as a purely technical project, the ECJ should be fully aware of this gap between perception and reality and may well want to invest in EU citizenship as an ideal.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive