Title Original Language:
The progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal
Abstract Original Language:
There has been a successful eﬀort on both sides to prioritise the protection of citizens’ rights and we welcome the progress that has been made on this part of the draf Withdrawal Agreement. However, statements from the Government and European Commission to the eﬀect that the draf Withdrawal Agreement’s citizens’ rights chapter is concluded has led to uncertainty for UK and EU citizens. Both sets of negotiators have failed to explain clearly whether outstanding issues will form part of the negotiations on the future partnership, such as ongoing free movement rights for UK citizens in the EU or protection for groups of people not currently covered by the draf Withdrawal Agreement. The Government and Commission were more transparent on their citizens’ rights objectives in the phase 1 negotiations. We again call on the Government and the Commission to publish a new Joint Technical Note that sets out their negotiation objectives on citizens’ rights for Phase 2, together with the respective UK and the EU positions on each. We also encourage the Government to publish the process for EU citizens applying for Settled Status in more detail as soon as possible and to continue its engagement with EU citizens in the UK on their outstanding concerns. The treatment of the Windrush generation was an appalling scandal and it has
undermined trust in the ability of the Home Ofce competently to register EU citizens living in the UK and to process their applications for temporary or Settled Status within the limited time available. We also note that the European Parliament, which has the power to veto any deal between the UK and the EU, has prioritised the protection of the rights of both EU and UK citizens in its resolutions. We will take further evidence on the citizens’ rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement and its implementation which will cover both EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU. We note the Government’s assurances that the Political Declaration will be detailed and substantive. This is important in order to give Parliament the maximum possible information before voting on the Withdrawal Agreement. This objective is shared by the Commission, the European Parliament and some Member States but we also note the Secretary of State’s confrmation that the Political Declaration will not be a draf treaty. We are also not convinced that the Government will be able to negotiate a full trade and market access agreement, along with a range of other agreements, including on foreign aﬀairs and defence cooperation, by 29 March 2019 not least because such negotiations have not apparently even begun. The Government has
indicated it will publish a White Paper setting out its proposals. We welcome this and hope it provides much needed clarity on the Government’s intentions for citizens, business, institutions and the UK’s partners in the EU27 and enables the Government to set the terms of the ongoing phase 2 negotiations, in the same way that the Commission was able to do when it published its version of the Withdrawal Agreement in February.