Expat rights must be ring-fenced, say MPs

A British MPs’ committee monitoring Britain’s participation in the Brexit negotiations has called on the UK government to request – and for the EU to agree – that any agreement on expats' rights be ‘ring-fenced’.

The House of Commons’ Select Committee on Exiting the EU says they are “unpersuaded that there is any need to link agreement on citizens’ rights to issues concerning Ireland and finance” and that “both sides should announce when they reach agreement on this that, come what may, the agreement on people is in perpetuity, so 4.5 million citizens can plan their lives ahead”.

This would mean that “people really do come first”, the cross-party group of MPs’ said in a new report on progress in the negotiations.

The MPs said they welcome the progress that has been made on the expat rights issue but urge both sides to do more to resolve the outstanding areas of dispute.

They added that should “sufficient progress” be found this month for a second phase of talks to begin on the "future UK/EU relationship", negotiations on citizens' rights could continue in parallel.

However they said: “The principle that 'nothing is agreed until everything is agreed' holds out the risk that even if an agreement on citizens’ rights is reached it could still be put in jeopardy by a failure to reach an overall withdrawal agreement”.

The MPs also said they are “disappointed” that the EU Commission has been “inflexible” over recognition of British people’s qualifications in the EU after Brexit and said that there remains “unnecessary uncertainty” over this.

You can read their full report here: Progress of the Brexit negotiations 

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