Thursday

29th Jun 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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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citizens’ rights, the EU stresses the need for people to be able to continue acquiring rights, even after the UK has withdrawn from the union.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

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament adopts mandate for 2018 budget talks
  2. EU commission launches pan-EU pension plan
  3. EU eases police access to databases
  4. Schulz calls for ban of Erdogan rally
  5. Trump to celebrate Bastille Day with Macron in Paris
  6. EU extended Russia sanctions until 2018
  7. Netherlands partially liable for Srebrenica massacre, court rules
  8. Cyprus reunification talks resume in Switzerland

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFNarrowing the Gaps: The Power of Investing in the Health of the Poorest Children
  2. World VisionEU, Young Leaders and Civil Society Join Forces to End Violence Against Girls
  3. EU2017EEGet the Latest News from the 2017 Estonian EU Council Presidency @EU2017EE
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Against Critical Voices
  5. European Free AllianceEFA Is Looking for a New Intern
  6. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  7. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  8. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  9. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  10. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  11. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  12. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  2. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  4. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  5. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move
  6. Dialogue PlatformMuslims Have Unique Responsibility to Fight Terror: Opinon From Fethullah Gülen
  7. EUSEW17Check out This Useful Infographic on How to Stay Sustainable and Energy Efficient.
  8. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament Criticises the Juncker Plan's Implementation
  9. UNICEF1 in 5 Children in Rich Countries Lives in Relative Income Poverty, 1 in 8 Faces Food Insecurity
  10. International Partnership for Human Rights26 NGOs Call on Interpol Not to Intervene Versus Azerbaijani Human Rights Defenders
  11. Malta EU 2017Significant Boost in Financing for SMEs and Entrepreneurs Under New Agreement
  12. World VisionYoung People Rise up as EU Signs Consensus for Development at EU Development Days