Brexit: Begin of EU-U.K. negotiations

Almost a year after the "Brexit“ referendum of June 23, 2016 and almost three months after U. K. Prime Minister Theresa May sent a letter formally triggering the withdrawal process on March 28, 2017, Brexit negotiations between the EU and U.K. have started. 

One of the key issues in the early stages of the Brexit talks is the protection of the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and the rights of Britons living in the EU, as well as the organization of borders – in particular between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Jurisdiction and the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will be a key focus, cep expert Bert Van Roosebeke said. "It will be crucial in all future discussions which mechanisms and instruments will be agreed upon for settling any disputes."

For example, a German residing in London for many years, who wants to go back to Germany for a year, will wonder what rights he will have after his return to the United Kingdom: these of a "pre-Brexit-immigrant" who enjoys special status or those of a new immigrant from the EU, who has only very limited residence rights. The EU is likely to demand that the ECJ will decide on this, while the British will want this issue to be decided by national courts.

The UK and the EU seem to be moving towards each other on issues of citizens’ rights. The question of jurisdiction is, however, both politically and legally delicate - it also affects many elements of the future relations between the EU and London. Acceptable compromises for both sides are not yet in sight.

The forthcoming negotiations in the field of citizens’ rights are a first test of how the negotiating parties will create legal certainty, which is concerned with all issues.