The Court of Amsterdam will ask the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) questions regarding the consequences of Brexit for the EU citizenship of British nationals. That is the result of a preliminary injunction procedure brought before the Court of Amsterdam by a group of British citizens living in the Netherlands.
As citizens of the EU, British citizens currently hold a number of rights and freedoms through EU membership, namely the right to reside, live and work in another EU Member State and to move freely through the EU countries. The central question in the procedure brought before the Court of Amsterdam was whether Brexit automatically leads to the loss of these rights and freedoms, i.e. the loss of EU citizenship for British citizens in the EU.
According to the judge, there is uncertainty about the interpretation of Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), which establishes citizenship of the EU. The court wants to refer the following two questions to the CJEU:
- Does the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the EU mean that British citizens automatically lose their EU citizenship, and all rights and freedoms derived from it, if the 27 EU Member States and the UK do not agree otherwise during the negotiations?
- If not, must conditions or restrictions be imposed on the preservation of the rights and freedoms that British citizens derive from EU citizenship?
The State of the Netherlands and the City of Amsterdam argued that the lawsuit is an undesirable crossing into the political negotiation process of Brexit. This argument was rejected by the Court of Amsterdam. The Court also ruled that the procedure was not a hypothetical dispute initiated for the sole purpose of presenting the case before the CJEU. The group of British citizens that filed the case had made it sufficiently plausible that their rights and freedoms were threatened and that they were already suffering from the uncertainty about their legal situation. The question is whether the CJEU will come to the same conclusion. After all, the outcome of the Brexit negotiations is still uncertain and the CJEU can only comment on prejudicial questions relating to an actual dispute.
Please find an English translation of the decision of the Court of Amsterdam here.
If you have questions about this article or about Brexit in general, please contact Mirjam den Besten.