EU takes legal action against UK on free movement

Brussels gives Britain four months to comply with rules.

By Laurenz Gehrke |Politico Online |

The European Commission is taking action against the U.K. over freedom of movement | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The European Commission launched infringement proceedings against the U.K. on Thursday, accusing it of failure to comply with EU law on free movement.

During the Brexit transition period, which is due to end on December 31, EU law on free movement applies to the U.K. as if it were still a member of the bloc, although its membership officially ended on January 31 this year.

A Commission statement said U.K. legislation “limits the scope of beneficiaries of EU free movement law in the United Kingdom as well as the possibilities for EU citizens and their family members to appeal administrative decisions restricting free movement rights,” thus breaching the Free Movement Directive and several other EU rules.

“The Commission considers that the United Kingdom has failed to notify its last five legislative instruments for the transposition of the Free Movement Directive,” said Commission spokesman Christian Wigand at a press briefing.

According to the assessment, U.K. rules also fail to transpose “the safeguards prescribed by the directive for certain individual decisions restricting free movement, as well as correspondence tables.”

In response, a spokesman for Downing Street said: “We will look at what the EU has to say and we will respond in due course.”

The Commission said it was concerned that current shortcomings endanger the implementation of EU citizens’ rights that was formally agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement between the U.K. and the EU signed in January.

“The United Kingdom now has four months to take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission,” the Commission statement said, adding that otherwise it might have to send a formal request to U.K. authorities to comply.

Cristina Gallardo contributed reporting.

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About Cholo Brooks 12227 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.