The Specialised Committee on Citizens' Rights
There have been a couple of questions about the Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights (SCCR) meeting this week here and in the FB group and page as to whether BiE was participating.
The SCCR was set up under the Withdrawal Agreement and is co-chaired by the UK and the Commission. It meets to discuss implementation of the WA twice a year and all the EU Member States participate, as well as the UK. It’s the official forum for the UK and the EU to raise concerns and issues with the other party on their implementation of the WA and the committee reports to the overall Joint Committee which oversees all implementation of the whole WA.
From the very beginning, British in Europe, and our partners the3million in the UK, felt that our voices should be heard and that the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’ should underpin the work of the SCCR. We campaigned very hard to attend the meetings and were successful because of all the work that both our organizations, supported by all of you and EU citizens in the UK, had put into securing the best WA that we could from 2017-2020. Those of you familiar with the EU (and probably the Westminster) ecosystem will appreciate how unusual it is for civil society organizations to gain access to such committees – we are usually fobbed off with a civil society forum which presents done deals with no real opportunity for meaningful input –- so were pleased that our campaigning paid off.
We and the3million are the only civil society organizations invited to present at the meetings. Originally, the committee met 4 times per year and that meant that, in the past, we attended the Spec Committee more often. In 2021, we attended in June and then were supposed again to attend in December but the meeting was delayed until January 2022, when we attended. We then attended in November 2022 again and as the rule is that we attend every other meeting we did not attend the one this week.
As you will know, each country group in the British in Europe coalition has a team of admins. About a month before each SC meeting we ask all the admins for updates from their countries and any concerns they want to raise (we also get regular updates from the admins in between the meetings as well). We then prepare a briefing document and this forms the basis of our presentation at the SCCR meeting. At the last meeting, BiE was represented by BiE Co-Chair and British in Germany Chair, Jane Golding, and steering committee member and Chair of Eurocitizens in Spain, Nigel Aston.
Obviously, we are also in contact with the UK and EU Commission in between meetings when breaches or potential breaches of the WA are raised in our country groups.
For more on the committee and post-committee statements see here.
26 May 2023
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