On 11 September 2020, Romanian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Corina Crețu of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union following the 2016 referendum. This marked the commencement of the post-Brexit transitional period, which is due to end on 31 December 2020. Negotiations by the European Union and United Kingdom are now entering a crucial phase in which speed is of the essence if a post-Brexit agreement is to be concluded in time for the Member States to ratify it by 2021, with the ever-present danger of failure by the two sides to reach an accord.
The fact is that 3-3.6 million European citizens, including around half a million Romanians, are currently resident the UK. In the event of no agreement, how will this affect the rights of those concerned, including students, researchers, skilled and unskilled workers and entrepreneurs with business activities in the UK?
What steps will the European Union take to protect its citizens?”
On 1 February 2021, President von der Leyen responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The Withdrawal Agreement, concluded between the EU and the United Kingdom (UK), protects the rights of EU citizens and their family members who reside in the UK at the end of the transition period in accordance with the conditions set out in the Withdrawal Agreement. The same applies for United Kingdom nationals and their family members residing in EU Member States. Broadly speaking, the Withdrawal Agreement ensures that persons falling within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement can continue to reside, work and study in the host State for their lifetime, under the same conditions as those that apply currently for mobile EU citizens under EC law on free movement of EU citizens.
The arrangements set out in the Withdrawal Agreement continue to apply after the end of the transition period.
The Withdrawal Agreement does not apply to EU citizens and their family members who do not already reside or work in the United Kingdom at the end of the transition period and who intend to move there afterwards, or for United Kingdom nationals and their family who intend to move to the EU after the end of the transition period. After the transition period, the domestic immigration rules apply in the same way as for any other third-country national.”
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