24th Mar 2018

EU sets out demands on people's post-Brexit rights

  • Settling the UK's liabilities in the European Investment Bank could be a painfully long process (Photo: Adriana Homolova)

The European Commission on Monday (29 May) published its position papers for talks with the UK on crucial issues, such as maintaining citizens’ rights and a financial settlement with repercussions stretching beyond the Brexit end date.

The detailed negotiating positions, which will guide the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, highlight the intricacies of the divorce negotiations.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

On citizens’ rights, the EU stresses the need for people to be able to continue acquiring rights, even after the UK has withdrawn from the union.

It says that EU and UK citizens caught up in Brexit on the two sides of the Channel should be considered legally resident after the withdrawal date, even if they do not hold a residency document proving those rights. These documents should be issued free of charge, the commission argues.

Rights for UK and EU citizens should be reciprocal and there should be equal treatment for the EU-27 citizens living in the UK, the paper states.

The document reiterates that the rights should be extended to family members and need to be protected for life.

The commission’s paper also sets out concrete examples on accumulating rights or changing status after Brexit.

In regard to students acquiring rights, it says: "A student can still become an 'EU worker' after the end of their studies without having to comply with immigration law for third-country nationals". On workers, it adds that "an inactive citizen can become a worker and still be covered by EU rules".

The paper also deals with the tricky issue of residency after the withdrawal agreement: "A person who resided legally in the UK for less than five years – by the date of the entry into force of the Withdrawal Agreement – can continue to accumulate the necessary five years residence giving access to permanent residence rights".

Another sensitive issue pops up again in the document. The EU commission wants to monitor the enforcement of those rights, and it reiterates the EU’s previous position that the bloc’s top court in Luxembourg should have jurisdiction over protecting them.

The European Court of Justice is one of the “shackles” the UK wanted to get rid of during the process of Brexit, citing differing juristic traditions which differ from continental Europe.

The bill

Another negotiating paper, published on Monday, sheds some light on the complexity of settling the UK’s financial obligations during the Brexit talks.

It does not mention a sum, and says the method of calculating the exact bill should be agreed in the first phase of the negotiations.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, in a recent meeting of the college of commissioners, warned that EU leaders will probably need to have an exact amount, in order to distinguish whether “sufficient progress” has been made during the Brexit talks, and whether to begin the next phase of negotiations on the future relationship.

The commission is hoping to wrap up the first phase, the divorce talks, by the end of this year.

According to the position paper, the UK is expected to pay all of its obligations for the 2014-2020 EU budget period, and will continue benefiting from those programs it finances.

The settlement, the commission argues, should also include funds, facilities and EU bodies the UK has paid into – listing more than 70 of such facilities and bodies.

It means, for instance, that the UK will have to pay what it pledged on EU funds for refugees in Turkey, on the European Development Fund, and should continue financing teachers it sent to European schools around the continent until the end of the academic year – ending in 2021.

In the bank

The UK's capital invested in the European Central Bank (ECB) should be reimbursed to the Bank of England.

However, it will be more difficult for the UK to get its money out of the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The UK would not immediately be refunded its €39.2 billion – the capital it has supplied to the EIB as a 16 percent shareholder.

The EIB finances long-term projects, and the document states that the UK’s liabilities should be reduced as the programs run out.

All payments should be paid in euros under a single financial settlement, the commission says in the document.

The papers were published by the commission, just as UK prime minister Theresa May reiterated on Monday evening that no Brexit deal is better for the UK than a bad deal.

In a televised interview, May said that despite her voting for Remain in last year’s referendum, she thinks that if the government gets Brexit right "we can make a real success of the opportunities that open up for us."

EU gives mandate for Barnier to take on Brexit

In its final preparatory act before Brexit talks begin, the EU has officially given the negotiating mandate to Michel Barnier. The French politician said he would like to start negotiations on the week of 19 June.

May promises hard Brexit in Tory manifesto

In her party's platform ahead of the 8 June elections, the British prime minister has asked voters to let her negotiate Brexit without guaranteeing a final deal.

Brexit-affected citizens want special deal on rights

Facing two years of uncertainty while Brexit negotiations are underway, EU and UK citizens caught up in the political battle want a separate agreement to secure their rights and future.

Column / Brexit Briefing

The coronation that nearly lost the crown

It is highly unlikely, but far from impossible, that prime minister Theresa May will lose Thursday's election. But the way her campaign is staggering to the finish line suggests that her honeymoon phase is over.

First Brexit meeting to focus on organisation

Before focusing on citizens' rights, negotiators Barnier and Davis will discuss - in French and English - about the structure of talks in their first official negotiating session in Brussels on Monday.

Brexit talks begin amid uncertainty

As Brexit negotiations start today with the first EU member ever to leave the bloc, the level of uncertainty on what comes next remains as high as on Brexit referendum day almost one year ago.

EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica

EU leaders at a Brussels summit demand social networks and digital platforms guarantee transparency and privacy. Their call comes amid growing backlash against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica over voter manipulation.

'Decisive step' in Brexit ahead of EU summit

The UK and the EU have reached a legal agreement on citizens' rights and the financial settlement, but with still little progress on the future of the Irish border.

News in Brief

  1. EU wants 'Paris' climate strategy within 13 months
  2. Workload of EU court remains high
  3. Spain's supreme court charges Catalan separatist leaders
  4. EU calls for 'permanent' exemption from US tariffs
  5. Summit backs guidelines for future EU-UK talks
  6. Macron support drops as public sector workers go on strike
  7. EU leaders condemn Turkey for illegal actions in Aegean Sea
  8. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Nordic states discuss targeted Russia sanctions
  2. Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case
  3. Germany and France promise new Russia sanctions
  4. EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'
  5. Tariffs and Turkey will top This WEEK
  6. EU leaders roll over Brexit talks amid Trump and Russia fears
  7. Europe needs corporate tax reform - a digital tax isn't it
  8. EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections