By which we mean the problems created by the Maastricht Treaty otherwise known as the Treaty of European Union. It is important to recall that it was not till this treaty was signed that the Common Fisheries Policy became part of the consolidated treaties, having been before that a policy created by regulations. (Discussed here and here.)

As mentioned in a previous posting, it was Article 38 under Title II that formally stated:

The common market shall extend to agriculture and trade in agricultural products. "Agricultural products means the products of the soil, of stockfarming and of fisheries and products of first-stage processing directly related to these products.

The Maastricht Treaty did something more that was noted by some people at the time but dismissed by the defenders of the treaty and the whole European project as being of little real importance: it established a European citizenship. In Article 8 we can read:

1. Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union.

It then goes on to define various aspects of that citizenship and this Article has remained in all succeeding treaties. A good many people have argued that the citizens of this country were not asked whether they wanted to be citizens of the European Union and should, therefore be able to give it up. But can they?

This is what Lord Stoddart of Swindon (a good friend of FAL) wanted to know and asked

Her Majesty's Government what is the process by which British subjects may renounce their European Union citizenship.

The response given by Lord Henley on behalf of HMG but, undoubtedly, written by one or more of his minions in DEFRA was illuminating:

Under the Maastricht Treaty, every citizen who is a national of a member state is also a citizen of the Union. The UK has defined its "nationals" for European Economic Area (EEA) purposes as:

British citizens;

British overseas territories citizens who derive their citizenship from a Gibraltar connection and;British subjects under Part IV of the British Nationality Act 1981 having the right of abode under s.2 of the Immigration Act 1971.

A UK national as defined above who renounced that status and did not have the nationality of another member state would cease to be a European citizen. It is not possible, however, to renounce European citizenship while remaining a UK national.

So hard luck. If you want to remain British you have to remain a citizen of this preposterous Union.


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