EU parliament details UK concessions on rights in Europe
Britain will guarantee rights for as yet unborn children who join European Union parents after Brexit and accept EU judges’ rulings on such rights, according to a draft European Parliament resolution seen by Reuters on Thursday.
The document, drafted on Monday for a vote next week before an EU summit that may launch talks on a future EU-United Kingdom free trade pact, also supports British Prime Minister Theresa May’s call for an agreement from Brussels that British citizens in the EU will be able to live freely in any member state after Brexit. The resolution was prepared on the basis of an agreement May was about to sign on Monday before objections from her allies in Northern Ireland forced a postponement over concerns about a plan to keep “regulatory alignment” between the province and the EU “to ensure no hardening of the border on the island of Ireland.”
It also lays out demands from the legislature, which must approve any treaty. These include limiting British benefits from any future agreement and an insistence London continue to abide by the European human rights convention. It also insists that Britain automatically adopt any new EU legislation passed after it loses its vote during a transition period after March 2019.
The draft makes no mention of a point under discussion on Monday when talks were interrupted that would end supervision of EU citizens’ rights by the European Court of Justice after a certain number of years. Two EU sources said that a compromise of 10 years — midway between a British offer of five and an EU demand of 15 years — appears most likely.
May has insisted that the ECJ hold no more sway in Britain but the European Parliament has made the court’s involvement a priority for safeguarding some 3 million citizens of other EU states now living in Britain.
The resolution, drafted by five parties that hold the vast majority in the chamber, notes British agreement in detail to honor financial commitments to the bloc and to avoid a “hard” Irish border, two of three conditions on which the EU wants “sufficient progress” toward a divorce deal before it will launch the negotiations May wants on a free trade pact.
It goes into more detail on citizens’ rights, notably on issues where London had been resisting lawmakers’ demands. These included that “core family members and persons in a durable relationship currently residing outside [Britain] shall be protected by the withdrawal agreement and that this is also the case for children born in the future and outside.”
London, which does not grant its own citizens automatic rights to bring in foreign spouses, had sought to apply that to EU citizens after Brexit and also wanted to deny rights to British residence to any children born abroad after Brexit. Britain has also, according to the draft, accepted that EU citizens can “export all exportable benefits” as defined by EU legislation after the country leaves.