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In the event of Brexit, the Brits deprived of the right to vote… from June 24 (Lamassoure)

LamassoureCommRulingSourire@PE160418(BRUSSELS2 in Strasbourg) The question of an “Exit” vote in the British referendum on the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union, on June 23, haunts the European corridors today. All European institutions are holding their breath, panting over the results of the polls across the Channel. To cope, they chose the mole method. They bury themselves at the bottom of the burrow, telling themselves that it will pass, and that they should not say anything. A fundamental error according to Alain Lamassoure whom we met.

No, that's no: from June 24!

For the French UMP MEP, this situation is not tenable. He says it clearly: “ If the No wins on June 23, from June 24, it should be indicated that the British representatives in the European institutions no longer participate in decision-making ". A legitimate question according to him because this consultation presents " at least one chance in two of being lost especially in the way which Cameron leads the campaign, multiplying the errors”.

British representatives will no longer have the right to vote

If we listen to Alain Lamassoure - who does not seem to be the only one to think this way even if he is the only one to express himself so clearly - the representatives of the United Kingdom on the Council would no longer have the right to vote to decide on current topics. They would continue to sit but as observers, for example, as are the countries which are in the process of accession, before the definitive ratification of their accession. Ditto in the European Parliament for the 73 British parliamentarians. “ I don't imagine that they will be able to comment on subjects like the directive on secondment, tax issues, the Panama papers and influence texts that they will not have to apply. …It's not legitimate »

A taboo question

The former European Convention member is surprised that no one is asking the question. “ It's surprising that no one in the European Council, in the European Commission, in the European Parliament cared about this. But are they sleeping? » Officially, the legal services of the three institutions have not issued an opinion... In practice, the lawyers have started to work on the different hypotheses, if only to clarify what Article 50 of the Treaty (Read: Brexit! What is the withdrawal procedure? When is it applicable?).

Keeping the right to vote: politically unacceptable

Some (EP lawyers) believe that as long as the United Kingdom is not legally outside, it is not outside the European Union, and its representatives can vote. This means that British representatives vote during the negotiation period of the exit process. For Alain Lamassoure, “ legally it is not so clear. And, above all, politically it is not acceptable ! To those who believe that this would be counter-productive and could hinder the referendum campaign, he retorts: on the contrary: “ We need to. In doing so, we will be doing a service to those of the British who plead in favor of a Yes to Europe. »

A shared opinion but mezzo voice

The leader of the EPP group, Manfred Weber, explained this bluntly during the group meeting on Tuesday evening. “ If they vote no, it's no, and they no longer participate in the decisions » he said in substance according to the words reported by Françoise Grossetête. Contacted by B2, Manfred Weber's office did not want to confirm these comments. But he didn't deny them either...

A not illogical solution…

A solution that is not totally illogical in our opinion and which finds justifications, by parallelism, in the accession processes as, by default, in the procedure defined in Article 50 of the Treaty which sets the conditions for exit from a Member State. The departing Member State does not, in fact, take part in the vote on the exit procedure. It would therefore be logical for this solution written in black and white to apply to all the legislation debated in the meantime.

We'll talk about it again on June 24th!

On the side of the European Commission, we play the mole. Asked by B2, the Commission's chief spokesperson, Margaritis Schinas, replied, not without humour, in a mode fairly well known to the journalistic community in Brussels: " The Commission will not speculate on the potential consequences of the UK referendum. Let's take stock on the morning of June 24! »

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

One thought on “In the event of Brexit, the Brits deprived of the right to vote… from June 24 (Lamassoure)"

  • From a legal point of view, the suspension of the rights of British MEPs would constitute a violation of the Treaties, in particular in view of Article 50, paragraph 3, of the Treaty on European Union. Indeed, only the entry into force of the withdrawal treaty can constitute the legal point of departure of a State from the European Union.

    From a political point of view, the proposed solution is equally untenable. Indeed, Article 14(2) of the Treaty on European Union clearly states that the European Parliament is composed of representatives of the citizens of the European Union, and not of the citizens of the Member States of the European Union. Semantic distinction of size! Also, an MEP does not represent his country so much as the European citizens residing in that Member State. It is recalled, in this respect, that non-British European citizens (but residing there) took part in the vote of these MEPs.
    By way of comparison, it is worth recalling the fate of the French deputies of Alsace-Lorraine after the annexation by the German Empire in 1871. The latter continued their political mandate until the end of the constitutional term, since 'they were not deputies of a constituency (which had ceased to exist) but deputies of the Nation.

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