Tuesday

20th Aug 2019

UK to block 1.5m EU citizens from referendum

  • Yousaf said it's illogical to 'disenfranchise [the 1.5m] over their own future' (Photo: secretlondon123)

Most of the 1.5 million citizens from other EU countries living in the UK will be excluded from voting in its referendum on EU membership, the UK government has said.

In a statement on Monday (25 May), it announced that citizens from just three EU countries - Ireland, Malta, and Cyprus - along with residents from Commonwealth countries, will be eligible.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Malta and Cyprus are Commonwealth members, while Irish citizens have the right to vote in the UK.

UK nationals who have lived overseas for less than 15 years will also have the right to vote in the ‘in/out’ poll, which prime minister David Cameron has promised will take place before the end of 2017.

More than 2 million Britons live and work elsewhere in the EU.

The rules governing the referendum will be set out in an EU Referendum Bill set to be introduced in Westminster on Thursday.

It will be broadly the same as for a general election, rather than local or European elections, when all EU citizens are able to vote. In total, just over 45 million people will be eligible. Unlike the referendum on Scottish independence held last September, the franchise will not include 16 and 17-year-olds.

The exclusions were criticised by Humza Yousaf, the Europe minister in the Scottish government, who said the UK government risks using “the rhetoric of division”.

"Excluding EU citizens, many of whom live here for a number of years, pay their taxes, their children attend local schools, to disenfranchise them over their own future in this vote is illogical, is utterly perverse and creates a democratic deficit,” he said.

The Scottish National party and the opposition Labour party want the voting age to be lowered to 16 and are expected to join forces to table amendments.

For his part, Ukip leader Nigel Farage welcomed the proposed rules as “sensible and reasonable”.

The government is considering whether to launch a Treasury study into the economic impact on Britain if it leaves the 28-country bloc or is able to obtain reforms.

Last week, the Bank of England accidentally revealed that it has begun a secret audit to examine the potential costs of a Brexit.

Cameron kicks off EU reform tour

UK prime minister David Camerion will meet five government leaders this week about Britain's future in the EU. Meanwhile, Germany and France have plans for more eurozone integration.

Exclusive

Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings

The German former secretary-general of the European Commission held some 21 meetings which were registered in the lobby register. But no documents appeared to exist summarising what was said.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Irish border plan is 'anti-democratic', Johnson tells EU
  2. Polish deputy minister targeted judges in hate campaign
  3. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  4. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  5. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  6. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  7. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  8. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us