A draft European Parliament resolution sets out to make EU citizens in Britain a “super-privileged caste” with rights greater than those of Britons, and the European Court of Justice guaranteeing those rights for 10 years after Brexit.
The UK must also continue to abide by the European human rights convention, and automatically adopt any new laws passed by the bloc during the transition period from 2019 to 2021 — after Brexit, when the UK has lost its EU voting rights.
EU nationals look set to be given what Brexiteers are calling a ‘super citizen’ status, with the foreign court continuing to oversee their “rights” well into the next decade.
Though the timeframe was not specified in the papers seen by Reuters, two of the bloc’s sources indicated it would be 10 years — a compromise between May’s negotiating team’s suggested five years and the EU’s demanded 15 years.
The bloc may allow two years of the so-called transition to be shaved off this ten-year period, meaning EU citizens would receive preferential rights until 2029 rather than 2031, but this is by no means guaranteed.
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Such preferential rights include EU citizens being able to bring foreign spouses to the UK, whilst British citizens would have to continue to apply to the Home Office for residency, as per British law.
A preview of such a circumstance was seen this September, when an Algerian citizen was granted leave to remain in the UK by the ECJ because he was married to a Spanish passport holder.
The wording reads that citizens’ rights would include 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 [Britain]”.
The latter portion of that ruling means that children who are not yet born who join EU parents in the UK after Brexit will also have their rights guaranteed.
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May’s government has also accepted that EU citizens can “export all exportable benefits” from the UK — likely to include child benefits.
The document, drafted in advance of a vote at the EU summit next week, intended to kick-start talks on UK-EU trade, was intended to be signed last Monday before objections from the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland were raised over plans – initially withheld from the DUP – to keep the Province in “regulatory alignment” with the EU and her EU neighbour, the Republic of Ireland.
Party leader Arlene Foster and MP Nigel Dodds stood firm that the UK would leave together on the same regulatory agreements and rejected the proposal, stalling the deal for the rest of the week.
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Brexiteer and independent MEP Steven Woolfe called the draft document “shameful”, tweeting: “UK nationals to be second-class citizens in [their] own country. Leaked EU/UK citizen rights agreement will enshrine discrimination.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Tory Brexit campaigner and grassroots favourite to take over from Remain supporter Theresa May as Conservative Party leader, drew a red line in September over ECJ supremacy after the prime minister’s concessionary Florence speech, saying: “As the rights of UK citizens evolve then the same must be true for EU nationals in the UK.
“You could not have a situation where an EU citizen living in the UK had more rights than a British citizen. That would give them the status of colonial occupiers,” he said.