European Commission takes legal action against UK for failure to comply with EU rules on free movement

May 18, 2020

The European Commission launched infringement proceedings against the United Kingdom on Thursday 14 May 2020, for failure to comply with EU law on the free movement of EU citizens and their family members. UK national legislation limits the scope of beneficiaries of EU free movement law in the UK as well as the possibilities for EU citizens and their family members to appeal administrative decisions restricting free movement rights.

During the Brexit transition period, which is due to end on 31 December 2020, EU law on free movement applies to the UK as if it were still a member of the bloc. The Commission said it was concerned that current shortcomings endanger the implementation of EU citizens' rights that was formally agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK signed in January.

“The UK now has four months to take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission," the Commission statement said, adding that otherwise it might have to send a formal request to UK authorities to comply.

This news comes as a part of the European Commission’s regular package of infringement decisions, where the body pursues legal action against Member States for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law.