Why EU citizenship matters?

You would probably not be reading this if you believe that lack of EU citizenship does not matter for the next generation of Brits. Opportunities and advantages arise from being an EU citizen that will not be available to a pure Brit soon. Irish citizenship is a means to enabling your child to have those opportunities and advantages.

One of the great benefits to Irish citizenship is that, if your child has it, any grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even those further down the line are also entitled to it under Irish law. The birth of each member of subsequent generations not born on the island of Ireland simply has to be registered on an Irish Foreign Births Register before they have their children for the right to Irish citizenship to cascade down the generations. 1 All of the following comments about your child apply equally to later descendants.

Connection

I want my child to feel emotionally that he is a European, with a sense of connection to and something shared with other Europeans. Many people in the UK lack this and the general sense of disconnection is only going to worsen after Brexit.

I also want being an EU citizen to be a facet of my child. I want him to know that he has a place outside the UK. I want EU citizenship to be part of a foundation that I can build on to mould him into someone who looks outwardly. To me this matters.

Opportunity

EU citizenship offers work opportunity. I don’t believe there will be much in the way of concessions to allow British-only persons to live or work in the EU. We will be a third country to the EU. It will probably be no easier for us to live and work in the EU than it would be to in the US.

I have heard it said many times since the referendum that it will always be possible for highly skilled person to move around, or movement will still be possible with a little determination. I am sceptical in the extreme. A belief pervades in Britain that we are somehow special. Not wishing to be controversial, I am not so sure.

Obviously, it will not be enough to be highly skilled; those skills also have to be in demand such that visas will be granted. Often qualifications will also be required that translate elsewhere. People with skills but without qualifications are certainly going to struggle to move around. Most movement will probably occur within large companies with both UK and EU offices. Jobs within such companies will likely become even more sought after than they are today, not least since companies may reduce their head count in the UK. Where an opportunity to move exists in such companies and there are colleagues with UK and EU citizenships, the colleagues will be advantaged.

EU citizenship facilitates studying at an EU university. At present students from any EU country have the right to study in any other EU country under the same fee regime as local students. This right will be lost to Brits after Brexit. 

After Brexit moving to the EU for retirement will likely be difficult, as many Brits have done over the last few decades. A Schengen visa only allows people to stay in the EU for 90 days over a 180 day period.

I do not want my child’s opportunities to be limited, I struggle to accept that my child will be disadvantaged over their dual national contemporaries.

Insurance

Some of the drawbacks to losing EU citizenship can be fairly clearly understood. There are also unknown unknowns. Options have value. I want my child to have options.

I also fear for the future of the UK. I want my child to have the option to leave.

EU citizenship is to be prized and is worth some effort to give to the next generation.

Footnotes

  1. https://www.dfa.ie/citizenship/born-abroad/registering-a-foreign-birth/