EU to remind members not to stamp UK passports after Brexit breaches

LONDON — The European Commission will remind member states that border officials should not be stamping the U.K. passports of British citizens living in the bloc, a practice that goes against the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

U.K. nationals living in the EU complained to POLITICO that they were having their passports stamped when re-entering the visa-free Schengen area after the end of the Brexit transition period.

British officials raised the issue on Tuesday at a meeting of the EU-U.K. Joint Specialized Committee on Citizens’ Rights, which oversees the implementation of this part of the deal. In response, the Commission officials agreed to remind member countries of the need to ensure border officers are aware of the new rules, according to one official in the room.

The U.K. officials also raised concerns about the different pace at which British nationals are being registered as residents across the EU, with large differences even among regions of the same country, the official said.

The meeting, the first to take place since the end of the Brexit transition period, also covered the difficulties some EU nationals living in Britain face in proving their residence when applying to the U.K.’s EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and in demonstrating their rights, according to a statement published jointly by the U.K. government and the Commission.

EU officials meanwhile flagged concerns about the future of EU nationals with pre-settled status in the U.K. who must reapply to the EUSS once they can prove at least five years’ continuous residence in the U.K., and before their pre-settled status expires.

The Commission worries some of these EU citizens might not realize the need to submit a second application, and is seeking clarification from the U.K. as to what will happen to their rights if they miss the deadline. The U.K. reassured the EU it will notify these people of the need to apply again, the official said.

According to the joint statement, the two sides “reiterated the importance of delivering clear communications and support to [the] vulnerable” and agreed to produce a joint report in April, when the specialized committee will meet again.

Citizens’ rights are likely to be discussed again on Wednesday, during a meeting of the overarching EU-U.K. Joint Committee, which supervises the implementation of the entire Withdrawal Agreement.

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