A refusal by the EU to separate the issue of Court of Justice jurisdiction from citizen’s immigration rights risks children being used as bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiation talks. The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield has written to chief EU negotiator, Michel Barnier to urge the EU to act swiftly in securing the residency status of children.
According to the Office for National Statistics, there are an estimated 588,000 children in England who are EU nationals—260,000 born in Britain—who do not currently know what rights they will have to remain in the UK after Britain leaves the EU.
Separating residence status from Court of Justice jurisdiction
The EU’s proposals seek to guarantee residence rights of EU nationals as the first thing to be agreed during the negotiations, but their proposal makes residence rights contingent on Court of Justice jurisdiction—an issue unlikely to be resolved until the end of the negotiations.
The Children’s Commissioner points out that any hold up in an agreement keeps children and their
‘in limbo’ at a time of great uncertainty and says ‘if the EU genuinely want to resolve the question of residence rights of EU nationals, they need to separate out the two issues to enable a negotiation in good faith’.