EU court says UK residents in EU nations can’t vote there

Category: Top Stories


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. test case / tɛst keɪs / (n.) – a case that becomes a basis for future similar cases

    The lawyer is studying the test case to determine if the law can apply to other situations.

  2. upend / ʌpˈɛnd / (v.) – to affect someone or something negatively and extremely

    COVID-19 upended many lives around the world.

  3. strike off / straɪk ɔf / (phrasal v.) – to remove the name of a person from an official list

    She was struck off the list of enrolled students because she didn’t pay her tuition.

  4. deprive / dɪˈpraɪv / (v.) – to take something away from someone

    He was deprived of his right to visit his children.

  5. sole / soʊl / (adj.) – being the only one

    The manager is the sole approver of requests from the staff.


Read the text below.

The European Union’s top court ruled June 9 that British citizens living long-term in the 27 EU member countries have no right to vote or stand for office in the bloc unless they have obtained a European nationality.

The ruling came in what was seen as a test case for the rights of U.K. citizens who continue to live in the EU despite Britain’s exit from the bloc two years ago. More than 1 million Britons were living in Europe. Many opposed Brexit in January 2020 and had their lives upended.

The case was first launched in France by a British woman who has lived there for more than three decades but was struck off the electoral roll after Brexit and couldn’t vote in local elections in March 2020. She had declined to apply for French nationality.

The woman, identified only by her initials E.P. in line with court practice, argues that she was deprived of her right to vote in the EU, and also in the U.K. owing to a rule there that prevents people from voting if they’ve lived abroad for more than 15 years.

But the European Court of Justice ruled that people living in Europe even prior to Brexit “no longer enjoy the status of citizen of the Union, nor, more specifically, the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in municipal elections in their Member State of residence,” according to a court statement.

The Luxembourg-based court said that “this is an automatic consequence of the sole sovereign decision taken by the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • A British woman who has lived in France for more than 30 years couldn’t vote in the local elections after Brexit. If you were the woman, what action would you take given the situation (ex. return to your country, change your nationality)? Why? Discuss.
  • The woman also couldn’t vote in the U.K. because of a rule that prevents nationals who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from voting. In your opinion, how important is it for people living abroad to participate in their home country’s elections? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Why do you think some people change their nationality (ex. because of better opportunities, cultural preference)? Discuss.
  • Would you ever consider moving to another country and changing your nationality? Why or why not? Discuss.