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Political update June 2021

Beyond Brexit

CITIZENS’ RIGHTS: More than five years after the UK voted to leave the European Union, a new chapter for citizens’ rights was ushered in this morning (1 July), after the deadline passed for French Citizens in the UK, and British Citizens in France, to apply for their respective residency schemes. The UK’s EU Settlement Scheme has been open since March 2019 and by the end of May 2021 5.6 million people had applied for the scheme, far more than expected (it had previously been estimated that there were around 3.7m EU nationals in the UK). The government is promising a "pragmatic and flexible" approach to late applications, with the Home Office saying that the scheme remains "indefinitely" open - but only if the individual can show they had reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June deadline. Without evidence of settled or pre-settled status, it will not be possible to rent property, work or claim benefits, or use the NHS without additional charges.

DATA: The European Union has officially classified UK data protection practices as “adequate” under GDPR, permitting the free flow of data after the temporary post-Brexit arrangement came to an end this week. Whilst the news is a welcome reprieve for many businesses, the new agreement will expire in four years’ time, after which it will need to be renegotiated. This sunset clause acts as insurance for Brussels, which has warned it will rescind the ruling should the UK diverge from GDPR in the years to come.

FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT: France and the UK were first and second in EY’s latest European attractiveness report released last week, with 985 and 975 new projects announced in 2020 respectively. In financial services, the UK continues to be Europe’s most attractive location for international investment with 56 projects. France is Europe’s second most popular FDI location for financial services, recording 49 projects and narrowing the gap with the UK.


Covid-19 and travel

UK: France remains on the UK’s amber list, meaning ten days mandatory self-isolation for travellers from France into the UK. The next list review is expected the be on Thursday 15 July, with changes coming into effect within the week after that date, and France is fairly likely to be upgraded to green list status based on current patterns. Even if France remains amber, the UK government has stated that “later in the summer, arrivals who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine when travelling from amber list countries”, though this will begin with UK residents only.

FRANCE: Fully vaccinated Britons can enter France as of 9 June and no longer need to provide evidence of a “compelling reason” for their visit.

The EU’s digital Covid certificate launches today (1 July), as a means to prove that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, has received a negative test result, or has recovered from the virus, with the aim of making it easier for EU citizens to cross borders. The UK is in talks to join the scheme, using the already existing NHS app to prove Covid status. The French TousAntiCovid app was upgraded this week and is now compliant with the requirements of the scheme.

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