UK, EU’s gives joint statement following citizens’ Rights Specialised Committee meeting

F.P. Report

LONDON: The UK government and European Commission gave a joint statement following the 11th meeting of the Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights.

Joint statement by the Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights between the European Commission and UK government:

The 11th meeting of the Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights was held on 17 November 2022 in London, co-chaired by officials from the European Commission and the UK government. A number of representatives from EU member states were also in attendance. The Committee was established by the Withdrawal Agreement to monitor the implementation and application of the Citizens’ Rights part of the Agreement, which protects EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU, and their eligible family members.

The EU and the UK discussed the implementation and application of the Citizens’ Rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement. The meeting also allowed both sides to take stock of any outstanding issues.

During the meeting, issues related to residency schemes were discussed.

The EU raised concerns about UK rules on temporary protection for applicants who apply after the deadline and took note that in such cases the UK ensures, under its one-step approach, that certificates of application are issued as soon as a valid application is made, in the same way as for in-time applications. The EU also reiterated its position that those late applicants who are ultimately granted residence status should be treated as lawfully resident in the period between the application deadline and granting of the status.

The EU also enquired about the impact of imprisonment on the ability of EU citizens with pre–settled status to acquire settled status and would share further legal arguments in support of its position that the break of continuity of residence should not affect Withdrawal Agreement status. The EU reiterated its other longstanding concerns related to delays in issuance of residence documents and entry visas and asked the UK about consumer protection rules available to EU citizens and their family members who have been wrongly denied boarding by carriers.

Both parties also had an exchange of views on absence rules.

The UK expressed concern about difficulties UK nationals have experienced evidencing status due to the slow issuance of residence documents in a member state and asked the Commission to do more on this issue. The UK raised the issue of UK nationals who have experienced issues transiting through the Schengen Area and asked the Commission to ensure relevant Annexes of the Schengen Borders Code are updated.

The UK also raised its other longstanding concern, namely non-compliant residence processes in some EU member states.

The UK raised issues encountered by family members of UK nationals protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and took note of a review of the implementation of family reunification processes in all member states, presented by the European Commission. The other concerns raised by the UK were difficulties drawing on multiple statuses, the need for detailed statistics on residence applications in member states and equal treatment.

The UK’s Independent Monitoring Authority, established under Article 159(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the European Commission presented their respective Annual Reports, adopted in accordance with Article 159(2) of the Withdrawal Agreement.

External representatives from civil society organisations, representing EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU, attended the meeting of the Committee and asked questions about the implementation and application of Part 2 of the Withdrawal Agreement in the EU and the UK, in conformity with the rules of procedure of the Specialised Committee.

The EU and the UK reaffirmed their commitment to protecting citizens’ rights in accordance with the obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement.

The EU and the UK agreed to meet again in spring 2023.