EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU 27 will keep their social benefits acquired before withdrawal in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The text adopted on Tuesday by the Employment and Social Affairs Committee aims to safeguard entitlements to social security benefits based on insurance, employment or residence acquired before UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
These contingency measures would apply to EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens leaving in one of the 27 member states who have acquired social entitlements due to the free movement of people, and guarantee they do not lose those entitlements in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The measures will be adopted unilaterally by the EU and enter into force only if the UK leaves the EU with no withdrawal agreement in place.
MEPs also required the European Commission to draw up a report to assess how the measures have been implemented one year after application of the regulation, and submit it to Parliament and Council.
The co-rapporteur, Jean Lambert (Greens/EFA, UK) said:
“This is the bare minimum that we can do in this situation. Entirely regrettable that we have to deal with contingency legislation at all. Citizens' rights have always been a priority for the European Parliament. This contingency legislation at least establishes the bare bones of social security rights and entitlements for people finding themselves in a very difficult situation.”
The co-rapporteur, Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE) said:
“Europeans who have exercised their right to free movement must not become collateral damage in any Brexit scenario. The European Commission is committed to bringing forward necessary legislation to bridge any gaps and ensure that those who exercised their right to free movement do not lose out post Brexit.”
Roger Casale, Founder and CEO of New Europeans, said:
"This is good news and shows that the EU can act unilaterally to protect rights. We pay tribute to the work of Jean Lambert MEP and Marian Harkin MEP who have worked patietly and tirelessly for this result. If only the approach taken by this Committee had been the approach the EU had taken to citizens' rights across the board from the outset."
Dr Ruvi Ziegler, Chair of New Europeans UK, said:
'This is a welcome first step for the EP Employment and Social Affairs committee to recommend the preservation of social security benefits based on insurance, employment or residence acquired by EU27 citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU27. EU institutions must move quickly now to unblock the uncertainty and stop treating EU citizens' rights like tradable commodities."
The agreed measures, adopted by 36 to 1 with no abstentions, will need to be confirmed by a vote in the 11-14 March plenary session and the legislation to be published before the date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Republished with kind permmission of the European Parliament