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British Citizens in Spain Praise Amsterdam Court Ruling

08 February 2018
by eub2 -- last modified 08 February 2018

Bremain in Spain, a group campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living in Spain, comments on yesterday's Amsterdam court decision to refer questions to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.


The purpose of the case was to establish whether EU citizenship rights would automatically be lost by British citizens living in Europe, in the event of Brexit happening. The case was brought by five British nationals, including Debbie Williams, Chair of Brexpats-Hear-our-Voice, who welcomed today's decision. The ruling brought feelings of relief and hope to members of Bremain in Spain.

Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain, says: "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."

Wilson concludes: "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."

"We have many unresolved issues and the current citizens' rights deal contains more holes than a sieve. Should the ECJ decide that leaving the EU doesn't mean losing our EU citizenship rights, that would be a game-changer. We will follow developments closely in the hope of a good night's sleep!"

Bremain in Spain is a group campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living and working in Spain. Run by a team of volunteers and chaired by Sue Wilson - a resident of the Valencian Community - the group advocates a tolerant and outward-looking society. It believes this is best achieved by the UK remaining a member of the EU. Bremain in Spain is part of the British in Europe coalition of 10 UK citizens' groups across the EU. It is also affiliated to Britain for Europe and European Movement.

Bremain in Spain
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