‘Brexit’: Consequences for Citizenship of the Union and Residence Rights
On 23 June 2016, the British people decided to leave the European Union (EU). Although the withdrawal process has not yet started, it is not surprising that some concerns have emerged in relation to the situation of British citizens residing outside the United Kingdom (but within the EU) who do not possess the nationality of another EU Member State, and citizens of the Union residing in the United Kingdom.
From ‘the leave date’, British citizens will no longer possess the status of citizens of the Union, and will subsequently become third-country nationals for EU law purposes. Conversely, the United Kingdom will no longer be part of the EU territory and EU citizens can no longer exercise the rights and freedoms conferred to them within the EU. In this scenario, the right to reside in the EU for British citizens and in the United Kingdom for citizens of the Union could become legally uncertain. This contribution departs from the EU law perspective and takes a human rights approach to dealing with the issue of residence rights. It will be argued that residence rights, in an EU context, can be retained by operation of the provisions of the ECHR.