Brexit: EU launches legal action against UK over freedom of movement

Legal action started against the UK for alleged “failure to comply” with EU freedom of movement rules

The EU has sent the government a formal notice, begining stage one of infringement proceedings, with 4 months to “address the alleged shortcomings”.

Despite the fact that Brexit happened at the end of January, the UK is now in a transition period where it has to follow EU rules until the end of 2020, during which time negotiators are trying to hammer out a trade deal.

The EU are claiming UK law “limits the scope” of EU citizens living in the country, who can travel between regions without a visa, although the UK was never a member of the border free Schengen Area.

It gives examples going back years, such as limits on EU citizens able to collect Jobseekers’ Allowance, (although many have done so),  and, (in the opinion of the EU), “Unjustified” lifetime bans on re-entry.

Infringement proceedings are launched when an EU country fails to implement EU law, (although there has never been a situation in the past where the country facing legal proceedings has been technically a non member state in the process of working out a trade deal after leaving the EU), and can lead to the European Court of Justice imposing financial penalties, (of course whether the fines or other penalties would hold any water since the UK won’t have to accept any legal decisions made by the ECJ after January 1st 2021).

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said: “We will look at what the EU has to say and we will respond in due course.”

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Written by

Mark T Connor

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