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Department for Exiting the European Union written question – answered on 6th March 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of negotiating a series of bilateral agreements on citizens' rights and other potential areas of common understanding with the EU in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

The Government has set out a unilateral offer to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK in all scenarios, and has been urging all Member States to do the same for UK nationals living in their countries.

Despite the welcome progress made by some Member States to protect the rights of UK nationals in their countries, there are other areas where the offer to UK nationals falls short, particularly in relation to healthcare. This is why the Government supported the objective of the Costa amendment on the 27 February, as a ring-fenced agreement would achieve our aim of providing certainty to citizens whatever the outcome of negotiations. The Government is now writing to the EU institutions seeking clarity on their position in regards to ring-fencing the citizens’ rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement.

If a joint UK-EU commitment to ring-fence citizens cannot be achieved, protecting the rights of UK nationals in the EU would, in a no deal, ultimately be a matter for the EU and individual Member States. We are urging them to take all necessary measures to do so. The Foreign Secretary has written to all of his counterparts, and the Government is holding further urgent discussions with Member States to seek assurances on the rights of UK nationals in the EU.

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