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

Undecided on the EU referendum? These are the three questions to ask yourself

If there is one thing people can agree on as they prepare to vote on the UK’s EU membership: comprehensive, comprehensible and trustworthy information is in short supply. Every day, the quality of the debate sinks to a new low – yet the stakes are as high as ever, writes Uta Staiger, Executive Director of the UCL European Institute.

How, then, are you supposed to make your decision on June 23? What questions should you ask yourself when you enter the polling booth?

Ultimately, I suggest, there are three core questions you need to consider as you make up your mind. Will you (individually and collectively) be better or worse off? How do you feel about your country, where it is headed, who it is made up of and how it interacts with others? And what does sovereignty really mean to you? Continue reading

Who will offer a winning vision of immigration after the referendum?

immigrationSteven Ballinger, Director of Communications for British Future, says Brexit campaigners have yet to offer credible visions on immigration that address voters concerns while also acknowledging certain realities. Whichever side does so will greatly improve their chances in June. This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s commissioning partnership with openDemocracy.

Immigration is not the only issue in the EU referendum – it is not even the top issue for most voters, according to ICM research for British Future’s recent publication How (not) to talk about Europe. But it is still probably fair to say that the main reason we are having a referendum on Britain’s EU membership is, in a word, immigration. The issue remains more salient and more important to the public than the EU itself. Ask most people to describe how the EU affects them and the issues of free movement and immigration are those most likely to come up. Continue reading

Brexit Divisions II: the mother of all migration debates

Screenshot 2016-03-23 09.23.19Migration will play a central role in the June EU referendum. The UCL European Institute’s Uta Staiger and Claudia Sternberg explore which arguments, facts, and strategies the campaigns will deploy to swing the vote in their favour. This article gives an overview of our second guest editor week on the topic on openDemocracy.

Migration has emerged as perhaps the most prominent – and certainly challenging – issue for both the In and Out campaigns on British EU membership. Continue reading

Some thoughts on the psycho-geography of Europe’s free movement

hoffmannEastern European migration takes place in a very different context than it once did. Eva Hoffman, author and essayist, asks what drives people to leave, and what drives them back again? This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s commissioning partnership with openDemocracy.

Cross-national movements – as we are all too aware these days – come in different forms and categories, reflected in the various designations we use for those who leave one country for another. There are immigrants and guest workers, refugees and exiles, émigrés and expatriates – terms that point to distinct kinds of social, but also perhaps socio-psychological experience. The different circumstances surrounding individual migration and the wider political or cultural contexts within which it takes place can have enormous practical and psychic repercussions. It matters greatly, for starters, whether you choose to leave or were forced to; it matters whether you’re coming to a new land unprotected and unprovided for, or whether you can expect, or transport, some kind of safety net. For the countries of intake, it matters how many come and what they are able to bring with them, what they need and what they can potentially contribute. Continue reading