Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

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citizens’ rights, the EU stresses the need for people to be able to continue acquiring rights, even after the UK has withdrawn from the union.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

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 medicines agency reveals new home preferences

Staff said they preferred to move to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Milan, or Vienna. More than 70% said they would quit if the agency moved to Athens, Bratislava, Bucharest, Helsinki, Malta, Sofia, Warsaw, or Zagreb.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  3. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  4. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  5. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  6. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  7. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  8. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  10. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year
  11. ILGA-EuropeMass Detention of Azeri LGBTI People - the LGBTI Community Urgently Needs Your Support
  12. European Free AllianceCatalans Have Won the Right to Have an Independent State

Latest News

  1. No sign of Brexit 'speed-up' after May-Juncker dinner
  2. Report: EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry
  3. New privacy rules tilted to industry, says NGO
  4. Malta shocked after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  5. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  6. May pleads for more as EU makes Brexit gesture
  7. EU united in backing Iran deal, after Trump criticisms
  8. 'Think of the patients!' cry warring EMA-host cities

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ECR GroupBrexit: Delaying the Start of Negotiations Is Not a Solution
  2. EU2017EEPM Ratas in Poland: "We Enjoy the Fruits of European Cooperation Thanks to Solidarity"
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and UK Discuss Deepening of Global Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceEHLA Joins Commissioners Navracsics, Andriukaitis and Hogan at EU Week of Sport
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Representative Office Opens in Brussels to Foster Better Cooperation
  6. UNICEFSocial Protection in the Contexts of Fragility & Forced Displacement
  7. CESIJoin CESI@Noon on October 18 and Debate On: 'European Defence Union: What Next?'
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Support Start-Ups
  9. ILGA EuropeInternational Attention Must Focus on LGBTI People in Azerbaijan After Police Raids
  10. European Jewish CongressStrong Results of Far Right AfD Party a Great Concern for Germans and European Jews
  11. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  12. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China