The referendum of the UK’s EU membership: No legal salve for its disenfranchised non-resident citizens

On Thursday 23rd June 2016, pursuant to the European Union Referendum Act 2015, a UK-wide referendum will be held on the question: ‘should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU’. Hitherto, much of the referendum debate has concerned immigration (to the UK) by EU citizens, exercising their mobility rights, with rather unsavoury rhetoric concerning deportation of criminals and ‘warnings’ about future arrivals from candidate accession states. Alongside immigration, leading campaigners have argued that the referendum is, at heart, a about questions of sovereignty and democracy.

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Brexit, Identity, and the Rise of the Euro-Celts

EU law not only protect fundamental rights and freedoms, but also the national identities of the Member States. Perhaps for “Little England”, that is not enough. But after Brexit, who would protect the national identities of the other nations of the UK?

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Brexit and Citizenship

What are the likely consequences of Brexit for the status and rights of British citizenship? Can the fact that every British national is an EU citizen mitigate the possible negative consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on the plane of the rights enjoyed by the citizens of the UK? These questions are not purely hypothetical, as the referendum on June 23 can potentially mark one of the most radical losses in the value of a particular nationality in recent history.

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Britain’s Neverendum on Europe

The UK Prime Minister has told us that the June 23rd vote will settle ‘once and for all’ Britain’s vexed relationship with Europe. I wouldn’t count on it. The current marathon is only beginning. The upcoming referendum has all the hallmarks of a ‘neverendum’: a campaign that tries to resolve an issue yet only succeeds in polarizing opinion yet further, guaranteeing its presence on the political agenda for years, if not decades, to come.

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The Brexit Vote: The Wrong Question for Britain and Europe

Referendums are supposed to provide decisive interventions in the affairs of state. Yet the referendum theory is in fact deeply flawed. European ‘membership’ for a country of Britain’s size, influence and location should be less a matter of ‘yes or no’ than one of ‘more or less’. The reduction of a complex and graduated choice to a basic dichotomy simply does not reflect the position or serve the interests of the vast majority who will be affected by the outcome. What is more, and worse, the crude logic of either-or plebiscitary politics threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Supranationale Demokratie als Demokratieflucht: Die Kommission im Freihandelsmodus

In Sachen TTIP und CETA ist die Kommission nach mehrfachem Hin und Her offenbar entschlossen, den nationalen Parlamenten doch kein Recht zur Mitsprache einzuräumen. Das ist ein kognitiver Rückschritt der Kommission in Sachen Responsivität gegenüber demokratischer Öffentlichkeit und mit der Prämisse, durch das Europäische Parlament seien die Abkommen noch irgendwie durchzubringen, auch eine demokratische Milchmädchenrechnung.

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A Tale of Two Exits: Scotland and Brexit

The EU referendum has become is a form of displacement activity, a chance for the English voters to affirm their Englishness. If England votes for Brexit and Scotland to stay in the EU, the question will be whether the other EU Member States would accept Scotland – perhaps in a confederation with Northern Ireland – as a new or continuing EU Member State or even as the continuing UK.

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