April saw the EU’s General Affairs Council agree the draft Article 50 guidelines for the Brexit negotiations with the UK. These guidelines will define the framework for negotiations with the UK and set out the positions and principles that will guide the 27 member states of the EU during the talks. It follows that these guidelines will control the scope for the Brexit negotiations.
Whilst the UK is arguably distracted by the snap General Election scheduled for 8 June 2017, ACE members should note that, among other things, it has already been agreed that the 27 remaining member states want the UK as a close partner, but with a guaranteed balance between rights and obligations. The EU appears not to want a “no deal” outcome but the prospects of an outcome for the UK that is better economically than the current arrangements with the EU appears slim.
The EU’s General Affairs Council also seems to concur with the European Parliament's approach to first negotiate withdrawal or exit terms and guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK. Consequently, ACE members should anticipate that only once the UK's exit from the EU has formally taken place, will negotiations be launched on the future trading relationship between the 27 remaining member states and the UK. The UK has requested to do these two negotiations in parallel to each other so watch this space closely.
In the meantime, the Home Office has published a landing page, which collates information for EU nationals living in the UK, following the triggering of Article 50. As the Brexit negotiations progress, the expectation is the page will be updated with the latest information about the status of EU nationals in the UK. The legal position is that the UK remains a full member of the EU until the UK exits the EU. All the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in place until then. For more information visit the website.
In addition, UK Visas and Immigration has refreshed its form and guidance for EEA or Swiss nationals, and non-EEA or non-Swiss family members of EEA or Swiss nationals, on applications for a document certifying their permanent residence, or a permanent residence card, in the UK. For more information, please visit the government website.