ECAS logo ECAS logo

Brexit’s Forgotten Citizens: Alternatives to EU Citizenship for ‘Static’ UK Nationals

08 December 2017

Following the UK’s Brexit referendum on 23 June 2016 and the vote to leave the EU, the rights and status of UK nationals living in the EU27 and EU nationals has been the subject of much debate. Yet, whilst the right to reside has been much discussed, the legal consequences of Brexit for EU Citizenship demands further attention.

This study, produced by the University of Sheffield School of Law and ECAS within the framework of the Citizen Brexit observatory, focuses on three groups of current European citizens who are most at risk of a loss or ‘downgrading’ of citizenship rights following Brexit: UK nationals currently residing in another Member State; EU nationals currently residing in the UK; and, UK nationals living in the UK.

The position of UK nationals resident in the EU and EU nationals residing in the UK is explicitly addressed by the Brexit negotiations, but the third group, the position of ‘static’ UK nationals – those who are living in the UK – is a secondary issue that will only be addressed during the second stage of negotiations.

This group faces a loss of political rights, such as the right to participate in local and EU elections and to participate in a European Citizens’ Initiative, but will also lose the choice of whether to become mobile. UK nationals under the age of 18, who were unable to vote in the referendum and are unlikely to have had the opportunity to exercise their European citizenship rights, are particularly affected, and these rights are set to be taken away from them without their participation in the decision.

This study explores the options available to ‘static’ UK nationals through an analysis of various policy options, including ‘Associate Citizenship’ and decoupling EU citizenship from nationality, and interviews with experts, stakeholders and citizens.

Brexit and Loss of EU Citizenship: Cases, Options, Perceptions – full study
Find out more about the Citizen Brexit Observatory