"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

House of Lords Backs Down on House of Commons Parliament Brexit Bill and the Resolution of EU Residents' Rights in the UK

We do not question the sovereign right of the UK to leave the EU, but how it is done reflects greatly on what the world can expect from Britain in the future....

In a surprise to us, as reported at BBC News, the House of Lords has backed down on its initial stance on the House of Commons Brexit Bill, giving the present UK government a blank check to trigger leaving the European Union without a previous handling of the after-Brexit rights of present European Union residents in the UK.

The rationale of the House of Lords was stated to be to avoid "divisiveness", a laudatory aim. However, the Brexit referendum with a near 50/50 vote result remains politically divisive ... regardless.

Our surprise is based especially on the fact that we are aware of numerous EU citizens (both in and out of the UK) whose personal and professional lives are integrally tied to the manner in which Brexit is ultimately implemented.

It must be emphasized that the issue of EU citizens' rights in the UK, as well as UK citizens' rights in Member States of the European Union after Brexit is not a "theoretical" legal construct, but represents a very acute real problem.

As widely reported, some UK citizens working and residing in other EU Member States have already applied for or have already obtained dual foreign citizenship in those countries to counteract further possible personal losses and deprivations based on their "in limbo" status.

It is of course apparent that the nationalistic populist trend we see elsewhere in the USA and in Europe is also present in the UK. Obviously, a main objective is "exclusion" of outsiders, which is a territorial political decision.

There is e.g. an ongoing "exclusionary war" from which neither the EU nor the UK are excepted. In addition to the selective travel ban in the USA, see e.g. the visa war at EU escalates 'visa war' with US with Americans set to lose visa-free travel to Europe.

We are similarly familiar with several recent cases of persons applying for various visas in the UK. The UK fees for visa application are steeply priced. The scope of the required visa application paperwork is considerable. And there is no guarantee that the application will be granted.

Perhaps matters will get better once the UK leave of the EU is final.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

The UK House of Lords Does Not Rubber Stamp the House of Commons Brexit Bill But Requires Protections of the Rights of Resident EU Nationals

As we previously predicted, we did not expect the House of Lords in the United Kingdom to "rubber stamp" Brexit -- the UK exit from the European Union, and the peers indeed have now voted 358 to 256 against the Brexit bill passed by the House of Commons, which made no provision for the rights of resident EU nationals who would still be living in the UK after Brexit.

This is not an issue that can be "handled" after Brexit is triggered. Rather, applicable existing rights must be protected via any Brexit bill before the EU exit is actually triggered.

This is a matter of the internal legal structure of the United Kingdom and of the tried and true norms of the "rule of law".

From a legal standpoint, the House of Lords decision is of course the correct one.

The United Kingdom can not just say, "goodbye, ta...ta" to the European Union and make no provision for the protection of the rights of EU citizens currently living within its borders under the UK's present European Union membership.

As a matter of legal logic, also a political "divorce" always involves a balancing of the rights of all parties concerned. You can't just run away as if what had been before never happened.

The House of Lords is thus confirming an elementary aspect of traditional legal rights and obligations.

Now it is up to the House of Commons to get back on the right track. As a sovereign nation-state, the UK can of course leave the EU if it so chooses ... but ... it has to do so in conformance with the general rules of law, which protect everyone.

Accordingly, a Brexit bill acceptable to the House of Lords must contain protections effectively applicable to all inhabitants, also resident EU nationals, whose status otherwise would be in a legal state of limbo.