• Austria's news in English

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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 Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Verdict on swimming pool rape case overturned
The Theresienbad swimming pool in Vienna. Photo: Wikimedia

An Iraqi refugee who was jailed after claiming it was a sexual emergency when he raped a boy in a swimming pool has had the sentence overturned.

Vienna Comic Con promises to be 'bigger and more galactic'
Cosplay star Yaya Han. Copyright: Yaya Han/Bryan Humphrey

Comic Con returns to the Austrian capital on November 19th-20th at the Messe Wien.

Three refugees arrested on drugs charges
Cannabis plants. Photo: J. Patrick Bedell/Wikimedia

A gang of three Afghani drug dealers has been busted in Vienna.

Hungarian woman crushed by snowcat piste machine
Snowcat machine. Photo: Melensdad/Wikimedia

A young Hungarian woman has died after being crushed by a snowcat piste machine on the Dobratsch mountain in Carinthia.

Austrian policeman sentenced over 'Heil Hitler' salute
Photo: Flickr

A policeman in Austria was sentenced on Thursday for shouting "Heil Hitler" at a driver during a traffic check at the Hungarian border in April.

Scary clown craze endangers crucial work of clown 'doctors'
Photo: Bojan Tavcar

Within the last couple weeks, disturbing events involving masked individuals has caught public attention in Austria.

Chimney sweep rescues lost mushroom picker
Photo: James Lindsey/Wikimedia

A 76-year-old Austrian man who went out mushroom picking almost froze to death after getting lost and spending the night in the forest.

Refugees sold into forced prostitution
File photo: UNHCR

Female refugees are being sold into forced prostitution in Austria, a police investigation into human trafficking has found.

Driverless bus takes a spin around Salzburg's old town
The Arma driverless shuttle bus. Photo: Navya

A driverless minibus has made a test journey in the city of Salzburg.

No jail time for asylum seeker who dumped baby in road
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A man who grabbed his own child and dumped her in the middle of a busy road has been given a nine-month suspended sentence.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available