House of Lords European Affairs Committee
The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, has replied to the strong letter that the House of Lords European Affairs Committee sent to her on 25 May 2023, following the oral evidence given by British in Europe, the3million and the IMA on 16 May 2023 to the committee. The letter was published by the committee on 7 August 2023.
While the Home Secretary acknowledges the progress made on implementation of the citizens' rights of UK citizens in the EU, she notes that:
“…there is still much to do, and serious shortcomings remain in several Member States.”
She confirms that the government continues to engage, both bilaterally and multilaterally, on citizens' rights issues and will continue to engage directly with EU Member States and the Commission directly, including through the Specialised Committee on Citizens' Rights.
Denmark and Sweden are directly referred to. The Home Secretary referred to some of the systemic issues raised in other countries - delays in receiving residence cards, family reunification issues and equal access to healthcare - and that the government continues to follow up where issues remain unresolved. The issues of accessing rights where UKinEU do not apply for permanent residence, reasonable grounds for late applications, travel and the planned introduction of ETIAS are also covered.
On funding to support UK citizens in the EU on citizens' rights issues and for organisations supporting UK citizens, the response was disappointing. The Home Secretary did not directly address the question of funding going forward but merely explained the rationale behind downsizing what was referred to as 'some of the temporary provision set up to support registration processes', including the fact that deadlines had passed in all but one constitutive country. Of course, in practice, most of the UK Nationals Support Fund funding went to organisations in declaratory countries where there are no deadlines, and support is clearly still needed in constitutive countries at the very least as regards reasonable grounds for late applications.
8 August 2023
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