Validating the rights of the 2 million Britons living in the EU after Brexit – and of EU citizens resident in Britain – would be a “complex and daunting task”, a cross-party parliamentary report will warn on Wednesday.
Negotiations might have to be prolonged beyond the two years allowed for, although the European parliament and individual member states could jeopardise any extension of the process, according to the House of Lords European Union committee.
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Agreeing a trade deal with the EU is likely to take even longer, peers suggest, between four and nine years if past experience is anything to go by.
Despite the government’s repeated advice that the referendum vote will be final, the report points out that it would still be possible to reverse a decision to withdraw from the EU – for example if there was a change of government.
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The 19-member committee, chaired by the former Conservative MP Lord Boswell of Aynho, avoided expressing any view on Brexit. Their review is based on testimony from two senior lawyers, Sir David Edward, a former judge at the court of justice of the European Union, and Prof Derrick Wyatt QC, emeritus professor of law at Oxford University.
“The European parliament’s right not to give its consent to the adoption of the withdrawal agreement would give it considerable influence. One of the most important aspects of the withdrawal negotiations would be determining the acquired rights of the 2 million or so UK citizens living in other member states, and equally of EU citizens living in the UK. This would be a complex and daunting task.”
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