‘Urgent need to move into higher gear’ in post-Brexit preparations, EU warns
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‘Urgent need to move into higher gear’ in post-Brexit preparations, EU warns

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Europe has “serious concern” over administrative uncertainties in the United Kingdom’s system to grant its European citizens a status that will allow them to continue living and working there, Commissioner Maros Sefcovic on Monday.

Sefcovic made this statement at the end of a third Joint EU-UK committee, which brings together representatives from both sides and is responsible for overseeing the application of the withdrawal agreement signed at the beginning of the year, formalising the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The EU wants to make sure that Europeans on both sides of the Channel can continue to live, work and study where they live without hindrance, without being forced to return by Brexit.

While Sefcovic is “confident that all Member States are on track to fully deploy their residence schemes and process all UK nationals in time,” he is worried about the settlement scheme that London is putting in place.

“In practice, it distinguishes between different categories of EU citizens with the same residence status,” he explained. “As such, it undermines legal certainty, also affecting their rights. We cannot have two classes of beneficiaries of the Withdrawal agreement.”

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Another cause for concern is the draft Internal Market Bill, a piece of legislation proposed by the British government, some elements of which go against part of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Sefcovic has “repeated the EU’s request to withdraw the contentious parts of the draft Internal Market Bill by the end of September.”

The UK, however, has already indicated that this will not happen, and the text is in the hands of the parliamentarians.

Overall, “much work remains to be done before the transition period ends in fewer than a hundred days,” Sefcovic stressed.

“Today’s Joint Committee meeting has shown the urgent need to move into higher gear and therefore, the next Joint Committee by mid-October should take stock of the results achieved by the Speialised Committees.”

“The EU is fully committed to achieving a full, timely and effective implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement within the remaining time available – constructively, at full speed and in good faith,” the Commissioner concluded.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times