EU tightens Brexit demands on residence, banks

Leaders in Europe will demand that UK Prime Minister Theresa May respects the right of EU nationals who have acquired permanent residence in Britain

26 April 2017, 8:37am
European Union leaders will insist Britain grant permanent residence to EU citizens who arrive before Brexit in 2019 and stay five more years, according to a draft negotiating plan they will endorse this weekend
European Union leaders will insist Britain grant permanent residence to EU citizens who arrive before Brexit in 2019 and stay five more years, according to a draft negotiating plan they will endorse this weekend
European Union leaders will insist Britain grant permanent residence to EU citizens who arrive before Brexit in 2019 and stay five more years, according to a draft negotiating plan they will endorse this weekend.

The call will be made at a summit on Saturday, where the leaders of the 27 other EU member states are set to sign their negotiating guidelines, detailing Brussels’ opening position in the talks due to start in June.

There are 3 million EU nationals living in the UK. According to diplomats, the new draft guidelines include wording that aims to head off any British move to cut immigrant numbers by forcing people out.

The member state officials have also included an extra clause on the legal position of EU nationals who have lived in the UK over a long period.

The EU document had always insisted on reciprocal guarantees “to safeguard the status and rights derived from EU law at the date of withdrawal”, but now says: “Such guarantees must be effective, enforceable, non-discriminatory and comprehensive, including the right to acquire permanent residence after a continuous period of five years of legal residence. Citizens should be able to exercise their rights through smooth and simple administrative procedures.”

EU nationals currently automatically acquire permanent resident status after five years in the UK but concerns about the future in the absence of any guarantees have led to many people applying for formal permanent residency status documents.

May’s government has been accused of forcing applicants to fill in an arduous 85-page document, which includes the requirement that they report every single trip abroad during their time in the country, no matter how many decades they have been in the UK.

EU leaders will also demand that Britain cover its share of new payouts from the EU budget for two years after it has left.

The guidelines were first drafted by EU summit chair Donald Tusk in response to UK Prime Minister Theresa May's formal launch of the two-year negotiating period.