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News by Fred Alan Medforth
Friday, July 21, 2017
Brexit: EU Blocks UK Checking Criminal History of European Migrants
The European Union (EU) is attempting to block the UK from carrying out criminal record checks on EU citizen seeking “settled status” in the U.K. after Brexit.
The issue proved a major sticking point in yesterday’s negotiations – despite the UK’s team, led by Brexit secretary David Davis, making it clear they were happy for UK citizens in EU nations to undergo similar checks.
The EU’s chief negotiator Michael Barnier and his team also reiterated their hardline demand for EU courts to retain supremacy over British ones in the area of citizen’s rights after the UK leaves the bloc.
More than three million EU citizens live in the UK who could be subject to the checks, but the EU said the checks should only be carried out based on reasonable suspicion, an insider toldThe Times.
As is the current policy for non-European immigrants, the UK simply wants to deport those who have committed a crime after the event of Brexit, where the sentence is more than 12 months.
The EU, however, claims systematic checks would be impermissible under EU law and wants to oversee less stringent checks with their own courts.
They also want their courts to continue overseeing citizens rights after Brexit, something strongly opposed by the UK, which has been described as a form of judicial “imperialism” by MPs and experts, who claim it would make EU citizens a privileged class with more rights than Brits.
The issues were two of 14 so-called “red lines” laid out by the EU on the topic of citizen’s right in discussions that will have to be dealt with before negotiations can move on to Britain’s future trading relationship.
Some may be possible to overcome, but others appear intractable. The EU, for example, is determined its existing, more relaxed, approach to deportations will apply, rather than the stricter approach favored by the UK.
Just over a week ago, Moody’s Investors Service said the probability of the UK walking away from the EU without a deal is now “substantial”.