CMV: The EU should ensure continued representation of British citizens in the European Parliament after Brexit
Sun Jun 10 2018 15:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Professor of Political Theory
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CMV: The EU should ensure continued representation of British citizens in the European Parliament (EP) after Brexit
Politicians are debating what to do with the British seats in the EP after Brexit. Along with their rights to free movement, British citizens will lose their rights to political representation in Europe once the UK has left the Union.
I suggest that British seats should continue to be allocated to represent British citizens. Ensuring continued representation of British citizens in the EP has four advantages.
(1) UK elections to the EP could signal swings in popular opinion, and put pressure on the British government and parties.
(2) It would avoid the ‘Norway problem’ – the problem of continuing close cooperation with the EU, but without having a say in its decision-making.
(3) UK citizens, via their representatives, could campaign to have their rights to free movement re-installed, irrespective of their home state’s non-membership.
(4) It could keep alive the hope that Brexit can be reversed by the next generation.
The looming Brexit has opened up a fierce debate on the future of the rights of British citizens living in Europe
There have been, however, no concrete discussions on the question whether Britain could still be represented in the EU Parliament after Brexit. On the contrary, there have been various official actions and statements suggesting that such will not be the case, including:
The recent yes-vote for a compromise agreement to shrink the European Parliament after Brexit
The relocation of EU agencies out of the UK and into neighboring EU-countries, such as the relocation of the European Medicines Agency to Amsterdam and the European Banking Authority to Paris
The fact that with exiting the EU contractually Britain will lose all its representatives by default, be it in special committees of the Commission, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Committee of the Regions or any other formal EU institutions
British citizen rights after Brexit
The European Parliament after Brexit