Why the law says “Yes” even if others disagree. Before we go further, let’s get some things out of the way. I know, I know, “you have to be a national of a Member State to have EU citizenship. And the UK will no longer be a Member State.”
Yes, you’re right, “experts say the proposal to keep citizenship after Brexit doesn’t have a chance.”
And then there’s the argument “Why would we guarantee these rights for Brits without reciprocity? Why should we? They voted to leave anyway!”
Forgive my tone, but: now that we’ve established that we all ‘know’ the obvious and the headlines, let’s focus on the less obvious and the complex, shall we? Let’s talk law.
First of all we need to understand that citizenship is not the same as nationality. If we check the entry for “Nationality” in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law we find that:
“Nationality is a legal concept of both domestic and international law. For the purposes of the former it is often referred to as ‘citizenship’, although as a matter of terminology, it would seem much more precise to denote the legal status of the individual as ‘nationality’ and the consequences of that status, ie the rights and duties under national law, as ‘citizenship’.”
There’s a lot of potential to get confused here, especially because this definition comes from the perspective of international law, but the simplest way to understand everything is:
Domestic law grants individuals domestic citizenship, and given that nation-states are the most common legal entities in our international legal system, then each individual’s domestic citizenship becomes their national citizenship (aka nationality).
So far so good? Ok, so let’s start making things more interesting.
Share the link to the ECI to help collect signatures.
Share this article with any skeptics or doubters, let’s see who knows more about citizenship/nationality.
This article originally appeared on Politics Means Politics and is can be read there in its entirety.