A Critical Perspective on Associate EU Citizenship after Brexit
DCU Brexit Institute - Working paper N. 5 - 2018
University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 12/2018
20 Pages Posted: 22 May 2018 Last revised: 29 May 2018
Date Written: May 8, 2018
UK nationals will lose their EU citizenship status as a result of the Brexit referendum. To prevent this, several commentators, including the European Parliament Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, proposed the grant of associate EU citizenship to UK nationals to safeguard their rights as EU citizens after Brexit. We make the case against associate EU citizenship, dismissing it on three grounds. First, it violates the letter and the spirit of EU law: the Treaties make the enjoyment of EU citizenship status contingent on the possession of a Member State nationality and require the Union to respect the rule of law as well as the constitutional traditions of the Member States. Second, it violates core EU values amounting to a tool for the EU to pre-empt vital democratic choices at the national level, thus undermining the established division of powers between the Union and the Member States as well as the effet utile of Article 50 TEU. Third, it is against the EU’s interests, as associate EU citizenship fails to respect reciprocity in EU relations with third countries and undermines the coherence of the edifice of EU constitutionalism. Besides being legally unsound he idea of associate EU citizenship thus fails on normative and on pragmatic grounds.
Keywords: EU citizenship, associate citizenship, brexit, free movement, tyranny
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