• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Brits abroad will get to vote in EU referendum

The Local · 25 May 2015, 11:08

Published: 25 May 2015 11:08 GMT+02:00

Prime Minister David Cameron made it an electoral pledge to hold a referendum on whether to stay within the EU, a vote that will take place by the end of 2017.

Number 10 only announced on Sunday who would be able to vote in the referendum, and eligibility will be roughly the same as in a UK general election.

Give us a vote: we've got most to lose if UK quits

This means British nationals who have been living abroad for less than 15 years will have their say on whether or not the UK remains in the European Union.

But those living abroad for more than 15 years will not be allowed to vote on the future of the UK in Europe, the new voting criteria confirms. 

The EU Referendum Bill will be officially announced after the Queen's speech on Wednesday, and legislation confirming the voting eligibility for the referendum will be introduced to Parliament on Thursday May 28th.

Alongside British citizens, those eligible to vote will include Irish and Commonweath citizens resident in the UK, including those from Malta and Cyprus.

Eligibility will also be extended to voters in Gibraltar, even though they are not allowed to particpate in general elections.

Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said, "David Cameron has been true to his word to the people of Gibraltar and, as a British part of the EU, our voice will be heard as part of the franchise for this seminal exercise in democracy."

Around one million other EU nationals who are resident in the UK will not be allowed to vote in the referendum, however.

British citizens under the age of 18 will also not be eligible to vote, provoking calls, led by the Scottish National Party, for the voting age to be lowered to 16, as it was in the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014.

Prime Minister David Cameron is due to meet with several European leaders this week to discuss EU reforms. He will meet with the leaders of Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland while also meeting with EU President Jean-Claude Juncker in the UK on Monday.

Story continues below…

Many British residents abroad are likely to vote for the UK to remain a member of the European Union.

"If we leave the EU then the UK’s trade will go down and it will achieve the magic combination of raising inflation and unemployment simultaneously while dramatically slowing inward investment — economic suicide," Mark Adrian Soloman, a British resident in Spain, commented on The Local’s Facebook page.

"Being married to a Spanish citizen and having two children, I think I’d be OK," Jules Renault commented, "…but imagine all the Brits here who have invested so much in moving to Spain and have nothing that ties them to this country…"

"I think I should have a say," Shelagh Moore commented on The Local Spain’s Facebook page, "It affects me more (than UK residents). I stand to lose all that we worked damned hard for back in Britain, such as pensions. Not all Brits abroad are wealthy old people living the good life."

For more news from Norway, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Norway’s royals apologize after old lady knocked over
The incident happened while King Harald and Queen Sonja were hiking in Bodø. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix

The Royal Court has apologized for what witnesses say was "unnecessary and aggressive behaviour" that sent an elderly woman to the hospital.

Norway no longer world's best country: report
No longer number one, but still pretty darned good. Photo: Erik Johansen / NTB scanpix

Norway fell from first to seventh place in a new life quality report.

Brexit
Norway won't commit to UK joining EFTA
PM Erna Solberg was in Brussels on Tuesday to meet with other Conservative leaders. Photo: Johan Falnes / NTB scanpix

Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Tuesday she has not concluded whether a British membership in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) would be good for Norway.

Mass brawl breaks out at Norway asylum centre
The Forus asylum centre in Stavanger. Photo: Carina Johansen / NTB scanpix

A rejected asylum seeker was arrested early on Tuesday after a fight involving up to 20 people.

Brit held for throwing pie at Norway's equality minister
The woman accepted the court's judgement but denied having planned the pie attack. Photo: Erik Fosheim Brandsborg / NTB scanpix

A British woman will be held on remand for for weeks for attacking Norwegian Equality Minister Solveig Horne with a cream pie.

Brexit
Iceland president: Brexit is good news for Norway
Iceland president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, shown here in 2008. Photo: Kyrre Lien/NTB Scanpix

Iceland's long-time president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson says that Brexit can give Norway and other northern countries a more important role.

Oslo court rejects Edward Snowden lawsuit
Edward Snowden speaking via satellite as he received the Bjornson prize in September. Photo: Svein Ove Ekornesvåg / NTB scanpix

The Oslo District Court on Monday rejected American whistleblower Edward Snowden’s lawsuit to prevent his potential extradition.

Video
VIDEO: Norwegians set world record for largest bonfire
The bonfire was measured at 47.4 metres. Photo: Runar Andersen / NTB scanpix

See stunning video of the world's tallest bonfire going up in flames as Norway celebrated midsummer.

Brexit - Opinion
Norwegian in London: 'Brexit is dreadful for the UK's unity'
Commuters cross the London Bridge on Friday. Photo: DANIEL SORABJI/Scanpix

Welsh-Norwegian reporter Sunniva Davies-Rommetveit writes that Brexit leaves her fearing a new isolationist UK.

Norway enjoys one of world's 'best reputations'
Despite a fall from second, Norway still enjoys one of the world's best reputations. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / NTB scanpix

Norway tumbled three spots in a new report ranking the most reputable countries in the world.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Norway's ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
National
Norway makes ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
International
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars
National
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars – yet
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
National
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
National
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
Society
Record number of kids mark Norway's National Day
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Travel
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Lifestyle
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
National
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
National
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Society
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
2,020
jobs available