The EEA EFTA States and the UK have agreed to continue the rights of EEA EFTA citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in any of the EEA EFTA States as the UK exits the European Union. The agreement is primarily concerning the rights of EEA EFTA and UK citizens who have made a home in each other’s countries as a result of the right of free movement under the EEA Agreement.
The agreement between the EEA EFTA States and the UK covers issues such as rights related to residence, mutual recognition of professional qualifications and coordination of social security systems. It also contains arrangements on separation issues such as arrangements on goods placed on the EEA EFTA or UK markets, intellectual property, data protection, public procurement, and ongoing police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
This agreement is still only a first step. Negotiators on the EU side and the UK government have agreed on a Withdrawal Agreement for the UK’s exit from the EU. This agreement must be approved by the UK Parliament and the European Parliament before it can enter into force. However, for the duration of the implementation period, the rights and obligations of the EEA Agreement will continue to apply to the UK. The EEA EFTA Separation Agreement will therefore mainly apply to issues that arise after the implementation period is over.
The Governments of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and the UK issued the following joint statement on this announcement:
“We are pleased to have reached this agreement. It will protect the rights of our citizens as the UK leaves the EU, and it will provide certainty to businesses. We want to put in place new arrangements from the end of the implementation period to protect our historic relationships, including in the area of trade.”
Find the UK-EEA EFTA Separation Agreement here.
Read a 13-page explainer of the Separation Agreement here.
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