EU Citizens as Bargaining Chips

pexels-photo-105470Virginia Mantouvalou, Reader in Human Rights and Labour Law and Co-Director of the UCL Institute for Human Rights, looks at the implications for Brexit on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights.

A few days after the referendum on EU membership of the European Union, Theresa May stated that she would not guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK. Her statements were supported by Philip Hammond, then the Foreign Secretary, who said that it would be ‘unwise’ or ‘absurd’ to guarantee rights of EU citizens to stay in the UK before negotiating with other Member States, and were also repeated in Parliament by James Brokenshire, the junior Home Office Minister. Mr Brokenshire was prepared to be slightly more reassuring, but only went so far as to say that there will be ‘no immediate change’ in the legal status of EU citizens in the UK. Many condemned this position as morally repulsive and politically problematic. In this piece I argue that the stance of the UK Government on the status of EU citizens in the UK may violate the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). European human rights law does not permit the treatment of people as bargaining chips. Continue reading

Unsettling times for a settled population? Polish perspectives on Brexit

sky-blue-flag-polandMany Poles have lived, worked, and settled in the UK for up to 12 years now. Anne White, Professor of Polish Studies at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, says it’s no longer so easy for them to pick up and leave. This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s commissioning partnership with openDemocracy.

When I was asked to write a piece about Poles and other EU citizens living in the UK and their perspectives on Brexit, my first thought was that Polish people in the UK are little different from the millions of UK citizens living or travelling to work in other EU countries, or from French, German and other western Europeans living in Britain. All have equal reason to feel horrified by the prospect of Brexit. Continue reading

A letter to my British friends: for Europe’s sake, please stay

 Dover Castle. Harshil Shah/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by-nc-nd)Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Professor in International Relations and Director of the Centre for International Studies at Oxford University, says the EU might be dysfunctional but it is still Britain’s home. Help us fix it from the inside. This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s first guest editor week on openDemocracy.

Dear British friends,

My kids and husband are British, I teach and pay taxes in this country, talk to my village neighbours everyday and love English country lanes, Scottish castles, Welsh road-signs, Cornwall’s gardens and all the bloody rest of it. As a French and Greek citizen, I won’t have a vote in this referendum and yet this is one of the most momentous decisions that will ever be taken in my name, as a European citizen living on this side of the channel.

So, along with the two million other EU expats living here, and millions on the continent who feel passionate about Britain’s European vocation, all I can do is plead: dear British friends, please stay. Continue reading