September 25
2020
Anjum Shabbir
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21st May 2020
External Relations & Trade Internal Market

Joint Statement: EU-UK Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights

Although no specific outcome has been published in the Joint Statement resulting from it, the first meeting of the EU-UK Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights was held yesterday. Parties apparently exchanged updates and reaffirmed existing commitments. This is a sub-committee of the EU-UK Joint Committee established by Article 146 the Withdrawal Agreement to monitor the implementation and application of the Citizens’ Rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement for EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU (see the first Commission statement here).

The Joint Statement is similar in brevity to an earlier such Joint Statement published on 15 April 2020, and the Joint Statement issued pursuant to the first meeting of the Specialised Committee on Financial Provisions on 19 May 2020.

Recently, the European Commission published updated information on the rights of EU citizens and UK nationals relating to the Withdrawal Agreement in the form of a 57-page Guidance Note of 12 May, accompanied by a disclaimer that it is ‘purely informative’ and does not ‘supplement or complement’ the Withdrawal Agreement, drafted by Commission staff – not thereby reflecting the position of the Institution itself. The Guidance explains what the Withdrawal Agreement may and may not cover, relating to some of the most basic aspects of the lives of around 450 million people, such as residence rights, rights of exit and entry to the UK and EU Member States, employment status, and matters of social security.

There is continued political tension over the rights of citizens of Member States in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU. The most recent reflection of this is that Michael Gove, who is the UK Representative and Co-Chair of the Joint Committee, has sent a letter to his counterpart Maroš Šefčovič, and made public comments accusing the EU of not doing enough to fulfil its obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement concerning the rights of UK citizens in Member States. Michel Barnier has apparently responded to the letter stating that the necessary dialogues with Member States will take place.

Read the Joint Statement here.

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