EU par­lia­ment de­tails UK con­ces­sions on rights in Europe

The Jakarta Post - - WORLD - Alas­tair Mac­don­ald

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.

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