Free movement of people and the Brexit

  • Éva Gellér-Lukács JOTOKI Postgraduate Law Institute, Faculty of Law, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
  • Ágnes Töttös Ministry of Interior, Budapest, Hungary
  • Sándor Illés Active Society Foundation, Budapest, Hungary
Keywords: Brexit, international migration, free movement of people, labour market, integration, European Union, United Kingdom


This paper deals with the development of free movement of people principle during the initial phase of United Kingdom (UK) exit from European Union (EU). Utilising descriptive methods we highlighted the cornerstones of negotiations till the deal. The Conclusions adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the EU Member States on 19 February 2016 laid down a set of arrangements between the UK and the EU that try to find a solution for the questions around four problematic areas of EU integration mentioned in the 10 November 2015 letter of David Cameron, in order not to make the concerns of the UK so pronounced that it would lead to the exit of the country from the EU. The study examines the agreement’s the fourth policy area (immigration) and the British concerns attached to the social benefits and immigration aspects of the free movement of EU nationals to UK, as well as answers of EU Heads of State and Government and the declarations of the European Commission’s will. The analysis covers the abuses experienced by the UK, their legal roots and the possibilities to act against them. The contribution places great emphasis on exploring to what extent the future directions of amendments could be considered clear, how they could be transformed into EU norms, how they could affect the EU legal system and its application. We concluded that the idea of a multi-speed Europe has reached the freedom of movement of people principle. Finally, in light of the Brexit referendum, the authors also try to explore disputable scenarios of how the results could affect the UK’s relation with the EU in the near future.


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How to Cite
Gellér-Lukács Éva, Töttös Ágnes, & IllésS. (2017). Free movement of people and the Brexit. Hungarian Geographical Bulletin, 65(4), 421-432.