UK and EEA EFTA states sign agreement to protect citizens’ rights

The UK and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (the EEA EFTA states) have signed an agreement to protect the rights of citizens in each other’s countries in the event that a withdrawal agreement is not reached between the UK and the EU.

The agreement protects the rights of 17,000 UK nationals living in the EEA EFTA states and 15,000 EEA EFTA nationals living in the UK in the event that a withdrawal agreement is not reached with the EU.

“This agreement provides citizens of the UK and the EEA EFTA states with certainty about their rights going forward, ensuring that they can continue living their lives broadly as they do now,” said Robin Walker, a Minister at the Department for Exiting the European Union. “It reaffirms our commitment to putting citizens’ rights at the heart of this process.”

This agreement was first announced and published in draft form on 8th February, but yesterday marked the formal signing. Minister Walker signed the agreement alongside representatives from the Governments of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

In the, seemingly unlikely, event that a Withdrawal Agreement is approved, this agreement will not enter into force and the UK would proceed with the EEA EFTA separation agreement published in December instead.

The arrangements for citizens are broadly similar in both scenarios.

Article published 3rd April 2019