Referendum on Europe - the Spanish Question
I have previously posted this diagram of European Bodies:
It shows the complexity of the different bodies in Europe. There is a debate going about whether or not to have a "referendum on Europe".
The first question of course is what the referendum is about. There are those people who would like to leave all of the European bodies in the diagram (except perhaps the Common Travel Area - which isn't in the diagram).
If, then, we are to have that that brings in the question as to what happens to those UK citizens who would be required to return to the UK if the referendum passed.
Do they get a vote?
I would call this the Spanish Question. That is because there are a lot of UK citizens in Spain. Many would have to return if we left the EEA. This applies throughout Europe.
I think they should have a vote on this very significant issue. They are entitled to vote in General Elections so this is not an unreasonable suggestion. Many have paid many years of taxes in the UK then retired abroad. They should have a vote as to whether or not we leave the EEA.
If we don't leave the EEA then most of the rules remain the same it is just that we have to follow the rules of the EU without taking part in setting them.
Hence it is clear that any referendum should be on EEA membership rather than EU membership.
Of course if people are concerned about the European Court of Human Rights then that is the Council of Europe and not the EEA.
So a proper and conclusive referendum covering all the bodies in one question is probably the right answer.
However, it remains that we need to have confirmation of the answer to the Spanish Question in relation to any referendum.