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 Full text 
Tuesday, 14 January 2020 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Implementing and monitoring the provisions on citizens’ rights in the Withdrawal Agreement (debate)

  Claude Moraes (S&D). – Madam President, as Michel Barnier very well knows, both the EU and the UK worked very hard on the settlement scheme. It was a shared moral and legal responsibility. But we are here because this resolution fires more than one warning shot and people are concerned. That’s why the Commission President, when she asked for questions, heard the concerns of people on citizens’ rights. Why? I give you one example: the Prime Minister, just recently, in his decision to revise the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to delegate the powers of the Independent Monitoring Authority (people talk about Windrush), which is responsible for overseeing UK policies towards EU citizens, to other bodies. Instead of strengthening the independent body, given the history of our immigration and nationality system, given the injustices, given the shared moral and legal responsibility, this is the direction we were moving in.

Let’s be clear: these are genuine concerns of EU citizens and I say to the Council, we have genuine concerns of UK citizens in the rest of the European Union. If we don’t get this right, this will be a deep scar and continuing injustice that will define what happens in the future agreements. Of course it will be for many years to come. So when people talk about the physical document or they talk about the declaratory system, they’re not talking about details – they’re talking about a system that may create injustice that would go on for years, that would have no independent resolution and that would be part of the jurisprudence and moral narrative that is built. That is why Michel Barnier and others made citizens’ rights so important in the first place, and that is why this resolution fires the warning shot, which must be heard.

Last updated: 27 January 2020Legal notice