BiE Newsletter 08/08/20: IMPORTANT ADVANCES FOR UK CITIZENS IN THE EU See in your browser
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IMPORTANT ADVANCES FOR UK CITIZENS IN THE EU

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06/08/20: Joint statement from the UK Government and European Commission following a meeting of the Specialised Committee on Citizens' Rights

Dear Briton in Europe,

On 6 August British in Europe and our sister group, the3million, participated in a video conference meeting of the Specialised Committee for citizens' rights. This is a sub-committee of the EU/UK Joint Committee that supervises the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA).

During the meeting, BiE raised concerns about the implementation of the WA for UK citizens, highlighting the need for flexibility on registration conditions and for extensions to registration deadlines - taking into account the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also brought up issues such as the combining of different residence statuses (e.g. UK third-country-national plus EU family member), the importance of having clear documentary evidence of our rights and the need for effective information campaigns for British citizens.

The European Commission had two pieces of good news for us. First, they confirmed that UK nationals will be able to hold more than one residence status. We can combine our WA rights with those that we may have as family members of EU nationals. If we meet the conditions, we can also combine our UK third-country status with other types of third-country-national status that give better mobility rights (e.g. under the Long Term Residence Directive and the EU Blue Card). Secondly, the Commission confirmed that our campaign to differentiate between ordinary and permanent residence on the new ID cards for UK citizens has been successful. Twenty-five out of twenty-seven member states have confirmed that they will put this information on the cards. Two declaratory countries have yet to decide but, even if they do not differentiate, they will issue UK nationals with documentary evidence confirming that they hold permanent residence where this is the case.

We are setting up another meeting with the European Commission in September to discuss in detail how we will be able to apply for different statuses. However, we would like to thank the Commission for clarifying these two vital issues in our favour. This could make a significant difference to the rights enjoyed by many of the 1.2 million Britons living in the EU. 

It has taken a lot of lobbying and patience to make these breakthroughs. One way that you can help us is to donate to British in Europe so that we have the fighting fund we need to prepare for, and attend, meetings like the specialised committee. For the first time, we have the ability to process monthly recurring donations - can you spare a few euros each month so that we can keep fighting for your rights?

Finally, we hope that, despite the difficult circumstances, you manage to get some time to relax with your family and friends during the rest of this month.

With best wishes,

 

BiE steering group

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Here is a message from BiE's Kalba Meadows who, despite a French August and being in the middle of major house renovation, has completed another instalment of her meticulous explanation of the EU's guidance note to the Withdrawal Agreement. While such a document might sound somewhat arcane, Kalba's summary gives us key information about our rights and we would heartily advise you to read and inwardly digest it. In our situation, information is power.

Last week we published our second guide to the Guidance Note, this time covering the rights of family members and dual nationals. As a reminder, the Guidance Note, issued by the European Commission in May, adds important details to the Withdrawal Agreement text but is not easy to understand, even by lawyers. Thus, preparing these guides and making sure that the information they contain is in an easy-reading format is a major task. As with all our publications, our latest instalment has been legally checked by our experts.

We know that many questions are being asked in our groups about the rights of family members and dual nationals, and the Guidance Note has a good deal to say about both. When our guide does not answer a question (because of lack of information) we make it clear that we have raised the issue with the Commission. For example, the Commission confirmed to us yesterday (see above) that UK nationals can combine their WA rights with those as family members of EU nationals, but we await precise details on how this can be done and evidenced. Such details are not just important for us - EU member states also need to know, especially those which have already started implementation.

You can find the guide here.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT....

On 30 June we gave oral evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee for the Future Relationship with the EU, following our seventy-page written submission in May. Topics included the state of implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement for UK citizens in the EU, concerns around Covid, the UK Nationals Support Fund, the loss of freedom of movement, recognition of professional qualifications... and much more.

You can watch the session here.

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