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UK and Switzerland sign Citizens’ Rights agreement.

by Politicker 0 Comments

The UK today signed an agreement with Switzerland to protect citizens’ rights.

The rights of UK and Swiss nationals in both countries have been guaranteed after the UK leaves the EU, as Minister Chris Heaton-Harris and Swiss counterpart State Secretary Mario Gattiker signed an agreement in Bern, Switzerland.

The Swiss citizens’ rights agreement will protect UK nationals resident in Switzerland, and Swiss nationals resident in the UK when we leave the European Union. It will allow people to continue contributing to their communities and living their lives much as they do now.

The agreement will give people more certainty about important rights including residence, working, healthcare, pensions, benefits, and recognition of qualifications. It will ensure that citizens are clear what their rights are, in both a deal or no deal scenario.

Minister Chris Heaton-Harris and Swiss State Secretary Mario Gattiker said:

The UK and Switzerland have signed a bilateral agreement on citizens’ rights which protects the rights of UK and Swiss nationals who have chosen to call each other’s countries home. This agreement will provide continuity to Swiss citizens already resident in the UK, and UK nationals already resident in Switzerland, when the UK is no longer subject to the EU-Swiss Free Movement of Persons Agreement. This agreement will apply whether or not there is a deal with the EU.

Swiss nationals will be able to apply to the UK Settlement Scheme from 30 March 2019 and will have the same grace period to apply as EU citizens. There are no fees to apply to the Settlement Scheme.

Switzerland is a close international partner to the UK and both countries are committed to strengthening our relationship once we leave the EU. We have already finalised agreements on trade, air services, road transport and insurance and will continue to work together in the future.

Details of the agreement is available from

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/swiss-citizens-rights-agreement-and-explainer

and documents are also available here

Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement (pdf)

Explainer-Swiss Citizens Rights Agreement (pdf)

Speech by Michel Barnier – 9 February 2018

The following statement was made by Michel Barnier after a round of negotiations held in Brussels from 6th to the 9th February 2018.

Brussels, 9 February 2018

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am happy to be here. I would like to thank you for being here rather than in front of your television watching the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympic Games, which has just started in Pyeongchang.

Allow me to extend my personal best wishes to both the Korean hosts and the athletes.

To come back to Brexit, we agreed with the UK side this week that the agenda would cover Ireland, the governance of the withdrawal agreement, and the transition.

We also foresaw an “update” by the UK on the future relationship. This update did not take place this morning because of agenda constraints on the UK side. That was the only meeting to have been cancelled.

Before the beginning of this round, I was very happy to meet David Davis on Monday in London, on his invitation, for a political discussion and also to meet Prime Minister Theresa May.

On the points I will now mention, this round was, for us, a “relaunch” round – the first since the Joint Report in December.

I think it is useful, however – for your work and your information – to give you an update today on the negotiations.

These meetings between us, and with David Davis whenever he wishes, will continue to take place regularly.

This negotiation is organised in rounds. This organisation is important to us – the EU side – because it gives us the time, before and after every round, to consult the 27 Member States and the European Parliament.

This is also how we ensure transparency – to which we have committed since the beginning, particularly when it comes to you.

And this method is also how we managed to reach an agreement with the British in December on the first important step of this negotiation.

Progress during Phase 1 Negotiations with the EU

A Joint Report, consisting of 15 pages covering 96 points, has been released by the teams involved in the negotiations between the UK and EU regarding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The EU has demanded that discussions are held in 2 phases with no progression to the 2nd phase of negotiations (primarily the future relationship between the UK and the EU) until topics defined under their Phase 1 agenda have been concluded.

Both parties have reached agreement in principle in the areas under consideration in the first phase of negotiations, with the UK having conceded to all the demands from the EU.

  • Protecting the rights of UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK
  • A framework for addressing the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland
  • The financial settlement

Citizens Rights

The role of the CJEU in maintaing Citizens Rights remains unclear. Does the following indicate that the UK will have to refer to CJEU rulings for 8 years after the UK leaves the EU?

Page 6, Paragraph 38

In the context of the application or interpretation of those rights, UK courts shall therefore have due regard to relevant decisions of the CJEU after the specified date. The Agreement should also establish a mechanism enabling UK courts or tribunals to decide, having had due regard to whether relevant case-law exists, to ask the CJEU questions of interpretation of those rights where they consider that a CJEU ruling on the question is necessary for the UK court or tribunal to be able to give judgment in a case before it.

As regards the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme, it looks as though this will only apply to UK citizens who are in an EU country (and vice-versa) on the “specified date of leaving” and will not be carried forward in the future when UK citizens are travelling abroad.

Page 5, Paragraph 29,

Rules for healthcare, including the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme, will follow Regulation (EC) No 883/2004. Persons whose competent state is the UK and are in the EU27 on the specified date (and vice versa) – whether on a temporary stay or resident – continue to be eligible for healthcare reimbursement, including under the EHIC scheme, as long as that stay, residence or treatment continues.

Ireland and Northern Ireland

The UK confirms the committment that NI will remain an integral part of the UK.

Page 7, Paragraph 44

The United Kingdom continues to respect and support fully Northern Ireland’s position as an integral part of the United Kingdom, consistent with the principle of consent.

The UK hope to ensure that there is no hard border created between Northern Ireland (NI) and Ireland following discussions between the UK and the EU in the next Phase of negotiations. The wording in this Joint report has been carefully constructed to ensure acceptance by representatives of NI and the Irish Government. “full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union” would appear to come into effect if there is no agreement reached during Phase 2 negotiations.

Page 8, Paragraphs 49,50

49. The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting North-South cooperation and to its guarantee of avoiding a hard border. Any future arrangements must be compatible with these overarching requirements. The United Kingdom’s intention is to achieve these objectives through the overall EU-UK relationship. Should this not be possible, the United Kingdom will propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.

50. In the absence of agreed solutions, as set out in the previous paragraph, the United Kingdom will ensure that no new regulatory barriers develop between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, unless, consistent with the 1998 Agreement, the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly agree that distinct arrangements are appropriate for Northern Ireland. In all circumstances, the United Kingdom will continue to ensure the same unfettered access for Northern Ireland’s businesses to the whole of the United Kingdom internal market.

Financial Settlement

The UK and EU have agreed a methodology to determine the financial settlement demanded by the EU.

  • The UK will contribute to, and participate in, the implementation of the Union annual budgets for the years 2019 and 2020 as if it had remained in the EU
  • Outstanding commitments at the end of 2020, Reste à liquider (RAL) 1. The UK will contribute its share of the financing of the budgetary commitments outstanding at 31 December 2020 (RAL).
  • Liabilities, contingent liabilities and corresponding assets. The UK will contribute its share of the financing of the Union’s liabilities incurred before 31 December 2020 except for liabilities with corresponding assets and any assets and liabilities which are related to the operation of the budget and the Own Resources Decision

Many questions remain unanswered with no specific figure mentioned or when payment(s) will be demanded.

Will the UK will still receive the rebate from its “GNI based Own Resources” gross contributions?

It is interesting to note that the EU have already specified their own repayment program of 12 YEARS! regarding repayment of funds (paid-in capital) due to the UK from the European Investment Bank. Perhaps the UK should suggest a long repayment period of small amounts each year over a similar time period.

European Investment Bank.
The UK will provide a guarantee for an amount equal to its callable capital on the day of withdrawal. The EU will take 12 years to return the UK’s share of the paid-in capital (3.5 billion euro) at a rate of 300,000,000 euro for the first 11 years and a final payment of 195,903,950 euro in year 12, 2019 – 2030.

There is no mention of a share of the accumulated profits of the EIB which are worth a total of around 44.5 billion euro (cfr. https://politick.co.uk/the-uk-and-the-european-investment-bank-eib/ ) and would provide a share to the UK worth around 7.0 billion euro. In fact, the report specifically excludes any further remuneration.

Page 13, Paragraph 77

77. Apart from these reimbursements, the EIB will not make any other payment, return or remuneration on account of the withdrawal of the UK from the EIB or on account of the provision by the UK of a guarantee.

There is also mention about paying towards the relocation of the EU Agencies currently based in London. (Typical of the EU attempting to screw as much money as possible from the UK)

Page 14, Paragraph 86

86. The Commission welcomes the UK Government’s offer to discuss with Union Agencies located in London how they might facilitate their relocation, in particular as regards reducing the withdrawal costs.

At least the final item does mention that the report is dependent on an overall agreement on the UK’s Withdrawal and a framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

Page 15, Paragraph 96

This report is put forward with a view to the meeting of the European Council (Article 50) of 14 and 15 December 2017. It is also agreed by the UK on the condition of an overall agreement under Article 50 on the UK’s withdrawal, taking into account the framework for the future relationship, including an agreement as early as possible in 2018 on transitional arrangements.

The document can be found in it’s entirety at

Joint report on progress during phase 1 of negotiations under Article 50 TEU on the UK’s orderly withdrawal from the EU

With a copy that can be downloaded from HERE (pdf)

What’s next?

This report summarises the key points which can be used in a formal Withdrawal Agreement when the UK leaves the EU.

It appears highly likely, that following publication of this report, there is a strong possibility of the negotiations being allowed (by the EU) to progress to the next Phase (2) of negotiations where the future relationship between the UK and the EU will be decided (by the EU) discussed. One of the important discussions during the next Phase will, of course, be a Future Trade relationship between the UK and the EU.

References

In order to understand some of the details mentioned in the section of the Financial Settlement there is an interesting post

The UK’s Brexit bill: what are the possible liabilities?

which was written in March 2017 and contains a description of some of the terms used in the Report.

Bruegel is a European think tank that specialises in economics.

Notes:

  1. What is the “reste à liquider” (RAL)?
    The RAL is the sum of outstanding commitments, commitments agreed to but that have not yet translated into payments. Long term budgetary commitments lead to the existence of amounts of commitments remaining to be paid out (RAL). The phenomenon is similar to when a contract is signed, e.g. to build a house, the commitment is being made, but the construction company will only be paid according to the progress of the work.

Citizens Rights – administrative procedures in the UK after Brexit

A policy paper has been released that details administrative procedures to support the UK’s proposals for the application system for EU citizens obtaining settled status in the UK following Brexit. In this document, sent to the European Commission as part of the negotiations, the Government reiterates how the new system will be streamlined, low-cost and user-friendly, with EU citizens consulted on its design.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/citizens-rights-administrative-procedures-in-the-uk

The UK will be bound by the obligations set out in the Withdrawal Agreement as a matter of international law. The citizens’ rights chapter of this Agreement will be incorporated in UK law, which means that the UK authorities will be required to confer the status and rights defined in the Withdrawal Agreement upon those EU citizens and their family members who fall within its scope, and EU citizens will be able to enforce their rights on that basis. In the UK, the route for individuals to obtain this status will be by application to the UK authorities, made within a period of time after exit as specified by the UK authorities. Obtaining this status will be a condition for lawful residence in the UK and enable these people to easily prove their unique status and rights, as guaranteed by the Agreement, to the UK authorities, employers, public service providers and others, in a convenient way in the future

A letter was also issued explaining the purpose of the document

Today, the Government has set out further details of how the new settled status scheme for EU citizens and their family members will operate as the UK leaves the EU. In a technical document sent to the European Commission as part of the negotiations, the Government reiterates how the new system will be streamlined, low-cost and user-friendly, with EU citizens consulted on its design.

EU citizens applying to stay in the UK after Brexit will have plenty of time, up to two years after the UK has left the EU, to obtain settled status. Those applying to stay in the UK after we leave the EU will not have their applications refused on minor technicalities and caseworkers considering applications will exercise discretion where appropriate. The new system will minimise the documentary evidence required and EU citizens will not be required to provide fingerprints as part of the application process.

Decisions will be based solely on the criteria set out in the Withdrawal Agreement, with no discretion for other reasons for refusal. EU citizens will also be given a statutory right of appeal, in line with their current rights through the Free Movement Directive, if their application is unsuccessful.

The Prime Minister has been clear that safeguarding the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals in Europe is the first priority for negotiations and she said last month that an agreement is within touching distance.

Negotiation between the UK and EU is continuing and the next talks will take place this week on 9 and 10 November. We will continue to keep you updated on further progress.

The document is available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/657694/TECHNICAL_NOTE_CITIZENS__RIGHTS_-_ADMINISTRATIVE_PROCEDURES_IN_THE_UK.pdf (pdf)

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