1.The UK-Luxembourg Agreement on Participation in Certain Elections (‘the Agreement’) was laid on 4 July 2019 and the scrutiny period is scheduled to end on 17 September. It was considered by the EU Justice Sub-Committee at its meeting on 16 July 2019.
2.This is the second agreement we have considered relating to voting rights. As with the agreement with Spain, which we considered in April, the Agreement does not ‘roll over’ a prior EU international agreement. Instead it seeks to secure, by means of a bilateral agreement, certain voting rights currently enjoyed by citizens in both countries by virtue of EU law.
3.The Agreement would entitle British nationals in Luxembourg and nationals of Luxembourg in the UK to continue to stand and vote in local elections after Brexit. The Explanatory Memorandum (EM) accompanying the Agreement notes that there are around 6,000 UK nationals living in Luxembourg (around 1 percent of the population).
4.Under Article 3 of the Agreement, in order to retain the right to vote and stand as a candidate in Luxembourg a UK national must have been legally resident in Luxembourg for “at least 5 years”, of which the last year prior to application for registration must have been uninterrupted. The EM notes that this is a legal requirement under Luxembourg law, based on a derogation under EU law, as “the proportion of non-nationals of voting age in Luxembourg exceeds 20 percent of the total number of citizens of voting age”. The requirement on nationals of Luxembourg to entitle them to vote in the UK is less onerous—they must be legally resident in the UK.
5.The Agreement does not require implementation under domestic law as nationals of Luxembourg are already entitled to vote in local elections in the UK.
6.We report the UK-Luxembourg Agreement on Participation in Certain Elections for information.
7.The UK-Portugal Agreement on Participation in Local Elections (‘the Agreement’), was laid on 4 July 2019 and the scrutiny period is scheduled to end on 17 September (see above, footnote 2). It was considered by the EU Justice Sub-Committee at its meeting on 16 July 2019.
8.It is a bilateral agreement, which secures the right of UK nationals in Portugal and Portuguese nationals in the UK to stand and vote in local elections. The EM accompanying the Agreement notes that there are around 26,000 UK nationals living in Portugal. The EM does not give a figure for the number of Portuguese nationals resident in the UK, but the Office for National Statistics gives an estimate for the second half of 2018 of 224,000.
9.As with the UK-Spain and UK-Luxembourg Agreements, the voting rights granted under the Agreement are not identical for nationals of each State. Portuguese nationals legally resident in the UK would have the right to vote and stand in local elections. However, to acquire the right to vote in local elections, UK nationals in Portugal would have to be legally resident for three years and be registered in the Portuguese Electoral Census in the parish listed on their residence permit. To acquire the right to stand in local elections, UK nationals must have been resident in Portugal for more than five years and not be ineligible to vote. These conditions are subject to transitional provisions contained in Article 5 of the Agreement, to the effect that those nationals who are already entitled to vote or stand in local elections immediately before the UK leaves the EU would retain that capacity.
10.The territory of Gibraltar and British Overseas Territories are outside the scope of the Agreement and therefore these citizens would not be entitled to vote or stand in Portuguese local elections (and Portuguese nationals would not be entitled to vote in local elections in those territories).
11.As with the UK-Luxembourg Agreement, no legislation is required to implement the UK’s obligations under the Agreement, since Portuguese nationals are already entitled to vote in the UK.
12.We report the Agreement between the UK and Portugal Regarding the Participation in Local Elections for information.
13.The New and Amended Schedules of the Agreement on Government Procurement as a result of Australia’s accession (“the Amended Agreement”) were laid on 4 July 2019 and the scrutiny period is scheduled to end on 17 September (see above, footnote 2). The Amended Agreement was considered by the Internal Market Sub-Committee at its meeting on 18 July 2019.
14.The Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) is a plurilateral WTO agreement under which the Parties open their public procurement markets to each other. It was first agreed in 1994, followed by an amended version—the Revised GPA—in 2012. The GPA is composed primarily of two parts: the text of the Agreement and the Parties’ market access schedules of commitments. The market access schedules set out the extent to which a Party’s procurement activities are covered by the GPA.
15.The Government laid the 1994 GPA and the Revised GPA before Parliament on 18 February 2019. In our treaty scrutiny report published on 12 March 2019, we explained that the UK currently participates in the GPA and Revised GPA as an EU Member State. The Government intends to deposit an instrument of accession so that the UK can become an independent Party to the GPA and the Revised GPA after Brexit. The UK’s accession will be based on schedules that are substantially the same to the coverage given by the UK under the EU’s schedules.
16.Cabinet Office officials have confirmed that in a ‘no deal’ scenario, the Government will deposit the instrument of accession no earlier than 30 days prior to the date of withdrawal. Under a ‘deal’ scenario, the UK would continue to be covered by the GPA according to EU schedules for the duration of the transition period.
17.Australia has recently acceded to the GPA and the Revised GPA, and consequential amendments have been made to the schedules of the EU, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway. The Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Amended Agreement explains that the amendments to the EU’s schedules “reflect the level of market access the EU considers is provided to EU suppliers through Australia’s coverage schedules”. To ensure continuity after Brexit, similar consequential amendments have been made to the UK’s schedules, which will apply once the UK accedes as an independent Party.
18.We report the New and Amended Schedules of the Agreement on Government Procurement as a result of Australia’s accession for information.
1 UK/Luxembourg: Agreement on the Participation in Certain Elections of Nationals of Each Country Resident in the Territory of the Other , CP 141, 2019: [accessed 16 July 2019]
2 This figure has been calculated on the basis of the recess dates announced on 20 June, according to which both Houses will return from the summer recess on 3 September 2019. If the Houses rise for a ‘conference recess’ at the end of the week beginning 9 September (as has been the case in recent years), the scrutiny period will be extended until after the two Houses return from that recess.
3 See European Union Committee, (36th Report, Session 2017–19, HL Paper 337), for details of the Agreement between the UK and Spain on the Participation of in Certain Elections of Nationals of Each Country Resident in the Territory of the Other, CP 71, 2019.
4 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, (26 October 2012), pp 47–390, Article 22 and Council Directive 94/80/EC of 19 December 1994 laying down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections by citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals (31 December 1994), pp 38–47
5 In relation to Luxembourg, the term “local elections” is defined in Article 1 of the Agreement as referring to “the election of communal councils”. In the UK, local elections are defined as “local government elections, mayoral elections and combined authority mayoral elections”.
6 Representation of the People Act 1983, and
7 UK/Portugal: Agreement between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Portuguese Republic Regarding the Participation in Local Elections of Nationals of Each State Resident in the Other’s Territory , CP 142, 2019: [accessed 19 July 2019]
8 Article 2 of the Agreement defines local elections in Portugal as elections for “City Hall”, “Municipal Assembly”, and “Parish Assembly” elections. In the UK, local elections are defined as “local government elections, mayoral elections, and combined authority mayoral elections”.
9 Office for National Statistics, ‘Population of the UK by country of birth and nationality’, Table 2.6: [accessed 18 July 2019]
10 Article 3
11 New and Amended Schedules to the Revised Agreement on Government Procurement as a result of Australia’s accession, CP 145, 2019: [accessed 23 July 2019]
12 European Union Committee, (33rd Report, Session 2017–19, HL Paper 315)
13 The GPA only enters into force for an acceding member 30 days after such an instrument is deposited.