Citizens’ rights groups call for further guarantees in phase II of Brexit talks

Representatives of organisations providing legal assistance and lobbying for rights of people directly affected by Brexit called on the President of the European Council to ensure that further guarantees are provided in phase two of Brexit talks.

The EU Rights Clinic, a legal support network set up by European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) and the University of Kent in Brussels, wrote a letter to Donald Tusk expressing concerns that the withdrawal agreement marking the UK exit from the European Union “will not comprehensively protect all rights which are currently enjoyed by EU citizens and their family members as a matter of EU law.”

In particular, the interim deal does not cover family members of EU citizens who have returned home after having resided in another EU country and non-EU carers of EU children currently protected by EU laws. It is also silent on the rights of free movement of UK nationals living in the EU27 after Brexit.

The letter seeks assurances from the EU Council that the directives it will give to the European Commission on the second phase of negotiations will aim to “enhance and extend the principles and commitments contained in the interim deal.”

Among the 60 signatories of the letter, there are representatives of citizens’ rights groups, legal experts, academics and members of the European parliament.

In a separate letter to Donald Tusk, British in Europe and the3million, two groups lobbying to protect the rights of citizens affected by the negotiations, said more work needs to be done, including on the recognition of professional qualifications.

Peter Ptassek, Germany’s lead Brexit negotiatior, said on Twitter that more efforts are needed to ensure the legal clarity of the deal.

He also said uncertainty about citizens’ rights “will hopefully be significantly reduced” in the withdrawal agreement.

On January 29 EU affairs ministers will define the negotiating mandate for the European Commission, which will then be endorsed by leaders of EU countries at the European Council meeting in March.

On February 1st the European parliament will hold a public hearing on where negotiations stand regarding the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU.


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