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.
“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,” said the co-rapporteur Jean Lambert (Greens/EFA, UK).
“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,” said the co-rapporteur Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE).
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.