HR Policy Global

BEERG Newsletter - Brexit: Britons are not EU citizens says court

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has confirmed that Brexit really does mean that Britons are no longer EU citizens. Britons lost EU citizenship when the UK left the EU, on 1st February 2020. It is the first time the CJEU has ruled on the matter, after a number of legal cases challenged this specific Brexit outcome. The decision also sets a precedent should other countries decide to leave the bloc in the future. 

The Court of Justice decided on a case brought by a British woman living in France. Before Brexit, she could vote and stand as a candidate in her town of residence. But after the UK withdrawal from the EU, she was removed from the electoral roll and excluded from the municipal elections that took place in March 2020, during the transition period.  As the mayor refused her appeal to restore the registration, she took the case to a regional court which agreed to request an interpretation from the CJEU. 

The court ruled that the “possession of the nationality of a member state is an essential condition for a person to be able to acquire and retain the status of citizen of the Union and to benefit fully from the rights attaching to that status.” The court therefore confirmed that British nationals automatically lost their EU citizenship as a result of Brexit.

Looked at from a wider perspective, the CJEU ruling makes it clear that UK citizens do not have any “lingering” rights from the time the UK was an EU member state. This means that UK employees have no rights to be represented on EWCs and further confirms the EU Commission’s view that EWCs cannot be based in the UK. However, the latter contention is being challenged by some EWCs and their UK-based experts. The matter will come before the Employment Appeals Tribunal later this year in the case of EasyJet. Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that 

Britain’s cost of living crisis is being made worse by Brexit dragging down the country’s growth potential and costing workers hundreds of pounds a year in lost pay, new research claims. 

The Resolution Foundation thinktank and academics from the London School of Economics said the average worker in Britain was now on course to suffer more than £470 in lost pay each year by 2030 after rising living costs are taken into account, compared with a remain vote in 2016.


Published on: June 22, 2022

Authors: Tom Hayes

Topics: The UK and European Union

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