Political groups in the European Parliament have expressed concern about the way the UK is handling applications from EU citizens in the country for settled status.
This comes just ahead of the 31 January deadline when the UK is due to leave the EU.
Speaking at a news conference on Friday, a Parliament spokesperson said the institution was “concerned” about the way the issue is currently being dealt with in the UK.
There was also concern, she said, about how citizens’ rights will be implemented in Britain – and EU countries – after Brexit.
Her comments were endorsed by a spokesman for the Renew Europe group, formerly ALDE, who said the issue was about how citizens’ rights, after the UK withdrawal, will be applied both in the UK and also in the remaining 27 Member States.
He said, “There is particular concern about the current administrative and practical requirements facing people who are applying for settled status in the UK.”
A spokesman for the EPP group said, “The UK Withdrawal Agreement contains provisions to protect both UK and EU27 citizens’ rights during and after the transition period.”
“There is particular concern about the current administrative and practical requirements facing people who are applying for settled status in the UK” Renew Europe
“We want to ensure that these provisions are properly implemented in order to protect those affected, their families and their rights. Both the UK and the EU27 governments must manage citizens’ rights fairly after Brexit.”
The Parliament spokesman confirmed that Parliament is due to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement on 29 January at 6pm.
This will follow the expected ratification of the deal by the House of Lords this week.
The parliamentary resolution on citizens’ rights is expected to express its “grave concern” about the attitude of Boris Johnson’s government to the estimated 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK following Brexit.
The resolution has been drafted by the main political groups and is due to be voted on by MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
“Both the UK and the EU27 governments must manage citizens’ rights fairly after Brexit” EPP group
It accuses Boris Johnson’s administration of creating “anxiety” in recent months, concerns that were echoed at the press briefing for the upcoming plenary.
One of the concerns, it notes, is that without a “physical document” offering proof of their right to residency at the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021 there is an increased “risk of discrimination against EU27 citizens.
Johnson’s Brexit bill cleared the Commons on Thursday in a major milestone that means the UK is on track to leave the EU on 31 January.
The Prime Minister won a vote on the EU withdrawal bill at the third reading by 330 votes to 231, a majority of 99.
Before the recent general election, MPs had thwarted Theresa May’s Brexit bill and threatened to do the same to Johnson’s revised deal.