Brussels demands European citizens get UK welfare rights for life after Brexit

Posted On: 
21st April 2017

Brussels will boldly demand that EU citizens in the UK retain welfare rights for life in defiance of Theresa May’s plan to exempt Britain from European court rulings.

Brussels intends to play hard ball over the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice
Credit: 
PA Images

Negotiating guidelines seen by The Times say the Prime Minister must indefinitely submit to rights verdicts by the European Court of Justice about the three million EU nationals living in Britain.

It would leave Mrs May powerless over employment, welfare and pension rights for EU migrant workers and their families - which could include non-Europeans - for the rest of their lives.

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A separate document also says security cooperation must be part of any Brexit agreement - after Mrs May appeared to dangle the threat of cutting off vital information-sharing practices.

The Prime Minister has vowed to “bring an end” to the jurisdiction of the ECJ in Britain and was reportedly about to lock the promise into the Tory manifesto ahead of the 8 June election.

New European Parliament president Antonio Tajani told the paper the migrant rights issue - in negotiating plans drawn up by the European Commission - were a red line.

“Technically it is the only possible solution,” he said, insisting the European Parliament would vote down any Brexit deal without it.

“If you want to continue to guarantee citizens’ rights you need to refer to the ECJ. The European parliament is very clear on this. Citizens’ rights is a red line.”

The Commission’s ‘draft negotiating directive’ reads: “The jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU (and the supervisory role of the Commission) should be maintained…

“Those rights should be protected as directly enforceable vested rights for the lifetime of those concerned.”

A government spokesperson said: “We have always been clear that securing the rights of EU citizens in the UK and those of UK citizens in the other member states is a priority for us.”