MEPs warn against UK government plans for EU nationals

Written by Martin Banks on 24 October 2017 in News

MEPs have written a letter to UK interior minister Amber Rudd complaining about plans to  to force EU nationals to add their names to a register in the transition period immediately after Brexit. 

MEPs warn against UK government plans for EU nationals | Photo credit: Press Association

UK MEP Claude Moraes has warned that UK government plans to force EU nationals to add their names to a register in the transition period immediately after Brexit would be illegal and unacceptable to the European Parliament.

It has been suggested that the UK would expect EU nationals living in the UK to have to register with the British authorities in the period immediately after Britain left the EU.

Moraes, a Socialist deputy, is one of seven MEPs who have now written a letter of complaint to UK interior minister Amber Rudd.


The MEPs - Sophie in ’t Veld, Seb Dance, Jean Lambert, Beatriz Becerra, Cecilia Wikström and Catherine Bearder, wrote, “Is the Home Office suggesting that only non-UK EU citizens needs to register? Article 26 of the freedom of movement directive makes it very clear that residency cards are for everyone, or no one.

“We find it extremely troubling for the home secretary of a member state currently complying with EU laws to make such a statement.”

The EU has insisted that the issue of citizens’ rights, along with the Irish border question and the UK divorce bill, must be resolved before the Brexit talks can progress and, on Tuesday, Moraes told this website, “The European Parliament stands ready to continue representing the concerns of citizens in the Brexit negotiations.”

The senior MEP, who chairs Parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) committee, added, “There will be a follow up hearing in the LIBE committee on citizens’ rights which will provide an opportunity to continue discussions on aspects of the citizens’ rights proposals that are currently on the table including important concerns regarding the registration process."

MEPs will have a veto on any withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU, including the terms of a transition period.

Elsewhere, in a debate in Strasbourg on last week’s EU summit, UK Conservative MEP Syed Kamall said the EU “needs to show pragmatism, not idealism, if it is to secure a mutually beneficial Brexit deal with Britain.”

Kamall, joint leader Parliament’s ECR group, told MEPs on Tuesday the EU “must not get bogged down in the structure of talks.”

He said, “I hope that we avoid becoming trapped by the sequencing of negotiations.

“Idealism may be a wonderful way to view the world, sequencing may appear to be perfectly logical, but it will be pragmatism that delivers the solutions we all want to see.

“There needs to be more understanding from the EU27 as to where the British people are coming from. The UK joined the EEC 40 years ago because it believed in open trade. That was the UK’s main motivation for its current relationship with the EU and it will be a major motivation in creating the UK's future relationship with the EU.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that nearly 30,000 EU nationals applied to become British citizens in the 12 months after the Brexit vote, almost double the number in the previous year.

Home Office statistics show 28,502 applications were submitted between July 2016 and June 2017, up from 15,871 in 2015-16.


About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine


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