EU/UK: Brexit Negotiation Guidelines Adopted; Negotiation Mandate Recommendation Presented by the European Commission

On April 29, 2017, heads of EU Member States adopted Brexit negotiation guidelines and on May 3, the European Commission presented its recommendation for a negotiation mandate, which must be approved by the Council of the European Union on May 22. The first priority of the negotiations is safeguarding the status and the rights derived from EU law for EU citizens residing and/or working in the United Kingdom and vice versa. Talks with the United Kingdom regarding this mandate will most likely begin in June 2017, after the General Election in Britain.

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May 04, 2017
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On April 29, 2017, heads of EU Member States adopted Brexit negotiation guidelines at an Extraordinary European Council meeting in Brussels. On May 3, the European Commission presented its recommendation for a negotiation mandate, which must be approved by the Council of the European Union on May 22. Talks with the United Kingdom regarding this mandate will most likely begin in June 2017, after the General Election in Britain.


The European Commission's Recommendation

The European Commission's proposal reflects a two-phase approach. First, the negotiations with the UK will focus on the withdrawal arrangements. Second, talks about the transition and the future EU-UK relationship will begin - but only once significant progress on the withdrawal agreement has been made.


EU and UK Nationals' Rights

The first priority of the EU negotiations regarding the withdrawal agreement is safeguarding the status and the rights derived from EU law for EU citizens residing (or having resided) and/or working (or having worked) in the United Kingdom and vice versa. The European Union aims for these rights to be protected for the lifetimes of those concerned.

Also, to achieve as much legal certainty as possible, the European Commission highlighted that the following elements must be included in the withdrawal agreement:

  • Who exactly will qualify for this conservation of acquired rights: the European Union insists that the cut-off date should be the actual withdrawal date when the United Kingdom is no longer an EU country and not any other date before it. Therefore, all EU nationals starting to work or moving to the United Kingdom even after the notification date should still qualify.
  • What rights will be protected: residence rights, social rights, right to access the labour market or to take up self employment.
  • Arrangements for diplomas, certificates and other professional qualifications' recognition.

Other issues to be discussed in the context of the withdrawal agreement include the financial commitments of the United Kingdom before it leaves the European Union, solutions to avoid a hard border with Ireland and the protection of the rights and interests of nationals of the British Overseas Territories in Cyprus.

The European Union has stated that an agreement on all of these issues must be reached before a withdrawal agreement can be concluded. The date of entry into force of this agreement is expected to be March 30, 2019 at the latest, unless both the European Union and the United Kingdom agree to extend this deadline.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals


The European Commission's proposal reflects a strong interest in conserving the rights of UK/EU nationals in the European Union/United Kingdom according to the equal treatment principle, an EU legal principle which prohibits discrimination based on nationality. Although the results of the negotiations are far from clear, UK and EU nationals' situations have not yet changed and will not change until the United Kingdom is no longer an EU country.

Fragomen will monitor the talks and regularly update clients on their outcome, as well as the best measures to maximize the rights to be granted by the withdrawal agreement.

For more information, please visit Fragomen's dedicated Brexit site , which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to brusselsinfo@fragomen.com.


© 2017 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

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