I would appreciate a piece on the rights or the lack thereof for the millions of citizens, workers and Prospect members (notably without a
vote) that find themselves at the wrong side of the boundary should BREXIT happen. I understand there are some rights that derive from a Vienna Convention, but that anything after BREXIT could change and I’m not talking about working permits and visas, but access to healthcare and public services in general.
Response from Calvin Allen, Prospect Researcher:
Karsten – thanks very much for your comment. I would share your concerns and regret the divisive nature of this referendum, particularly as regards the failure to extend the franchise in this referendum to those citizens of other countries who have chosen to live their lives in this country and contribute to its economic growth. As the world is becoming smaller, people in this country (and elsewhere, too) seem to be becoming more insular: a strange reaction if, in many ways, understandable in the light of the impact of austerity which I thinik drives it.
We are of course a trade union and more concerned with aspects of workplace rights than anything else, but I have been doing a bit of digging on this.
The Vienna Convention does exist and does offer some protections when international treaties are torn up – but, it seems, this is likely to protect the rights of states (and contracting parties) rather than individuals. It may be of some help in a contract of employment situation, but individuals are unlikely to be able to invoke the Vienna Convention to claim a right to access public services. This was put extremely well in an article on ‘The Connexion‘, an English language newspaper based in France.
The simple answer is that we just don’t know what will happen should the UK (or UK citizens…) vote to leave the EU. Much will depend on the composition of the government party that will negotiate the withdrawal, and then what they are able to achieve in that envisaged two-year period of negotiations under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. It is true that the rights and interests of the citizens of other EU countries living in the UK are likely to be balanced against the rights and interests of UK citizens living in other EU countries.
Nevertheless, the only clear answer is that ‘We just don’t know what will happen’. Alan Johnson, leader of Labour’s ‘In’ campaign put this rather well for me recently when commenting that this was like being in a boat in a maelstrom at sea and being asked to jump overboard.
Whether individuals are for ‘leave’ or for ‘remain’, it seems to me incumbent on those who want to change the status quo to explain precisely what will happen if they are to get their desired outcome. Otherwise, Alan Johnson is exactly right.
I am a member of a defined benefit pension scheme as many Prospect members are. I recently attended a branch meeting which was addressed by a Trustee of my pension fund who advised us that the majority of UK Pension Regulations are a result of EU legislation. Can some say what the possible effect of the UK leaving the EU could have on Pension Regulation.
Response from Neil Walsh, Prospect Pension Officer:
Much European regulation provides for the protection of pension scheme members; such as, for example, in the event of the insolvency of their employer or the transfer of their employment. As these requirements have been incorporated into UK law they would still exist in the UK post Brexit until legislation was adopted to amend them. In practice many of the pension protections provided for under various regulations originating in Europe are popular and there would be strong support for retaining, for example, the Pension Protection Fund. There would be an opportunity for the UK to move away from these regulations over time though.
I am not convinced that the pm actually brought back a complete bargain. I do not see anything that restricts immigration from outside the EU, nor a restriction on EU members. The maniacal edicts from the eu restricting trade or the interfering in all thing that we are happy with, hoovers that work, light bulbs that don’t contain mercury, bent cucumbers, etc. I believe that OUT is the only way to unburden ourselves of the EU.
Response from Calvin Allen:
Thanks Fred: I think the bent cucumbers was a product of a demand from retailers rather than anything else! However, regardless of the merits of the things to which you point (and light bulbs that don’t contain a poison seems to me to be a sensible idea), none of them are edicts from on high: the UK – as all other member states – has had a role in shaping and agreeing the legislation that emerges from the EU. Regardless of what you think about faceless Eurocrats, the laws that the EU comes up with are not developed in the abstract of national concerns and that, as frustrating as they might sometimes be, these laws have all had UK input in the drafting.
I voted to enter the EU but it has become a self perpetuating, bureaucratic monster. It is out of control and expensive. Camerons supposed reforms are a sham the EU will revert to the same gravy train as soon as we have had our referendum. In the end will Turkeys vote for Xmas NO but the EU will vote for Turkey to join , another nightmare?
Response from Calvin Allen:
Hi Jim: Any state entering the EU will only be able to do so where all other member states agree. Turkey has long been an applicant for EU membership – since 1960, I believe – but of course its current politics places immense barriers to its membership of the EU (which imposes very tight conditions on the types of country allowed in). As indeed did those of Spain, Portugal and Greece prior to entry – all of them having recently emerged from periods of dictatorship and military rule but on the point of accession were accepted as democracies (and irreversibly so).
A prosaic query re roaming charges on use of mobile phones in non EU countries. How would these be affected if Britain exited the EU?
Response from Calvin Allen:
Thanks Patrick: the easy answer would be to say that no-one knows since it would be entirely dependent on what the UK (and its erstwhile EU partners) did next. The abolition of roaming applies across the EU and the European Free Trade Area (to which belong Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) so if a non-EU UK was to join EFTA, the roaming regulations would continue to apply. If a non-EU UK was to be entirely stand-alone, then it would depend on the terms of trade established separately between it and the rest of the EU. But I think the point is that the EU’s roaming regulations were developed with the involvement of the UK; were the UK to pull out of the EU, any future developments in this area would be developed entirely without our involvement in shaping that legislation but might still apply.