Brexit and EU officials legal status

Brexit, Special Report

Brexit and the EU officials of British nationality legal status

The negotiators of the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) agreed in principle across the 3 areas under consideration in the first phase of negotiations (protection of the rights of the citizens, the circumstances in Northern Ireland and the financial settlement). “Agreement in principle has been reached on the package as a whole, as opposed to individual elements” (Joint report from the negotiators TF50(2017)1) . The discussions of the second round will begin in order to explore the vision of the future relationship.

Decisions have been taken concerning the relocation of the UK-based EU-agencies.

What we are most interested in, the situation of the EU/UK officials and other servants, was not yet discussed. In a mere footnote (No. 9, page 11) in the Joint report from the negotiators of the EU and the UK on progress during phase 1 of negotiations under Article 50 TEU, we find the following: “The UK’s share of the liability related to pension and other post-employment benefits for Union staff and staff from the European Defence Agency, the European Union Institute for Security Studies and the European Union Satellite Centre as established on 31 December 2020 will be paid when these amounts fall due, unless an earlier schedule is agreed.” An indication of what are the positions  concerning citizens on which there was an agreement in principle can be found in the Joint technical note on citizens’ rights (8th December 2017) in which the EU/UK positions on citizens’ rights are compared. At least these rights should be valid for former UK officials and other servants and their family remaining in the EU, or other former EU staff and their family residing in the UK. EU staff with UK citizenship remaining in the EU institutions after Brexit will of course continue to enjoy all the rights granted by the PPI Protocol (“Protocol on the privileges and immunities of the European Union“, which is Protocol 7 of the “Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union” or “Lisbon Treaty”).

In the meantime, the EU Parliament’s Policy department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee, commissioned a “study focusing on the legal status of EU active and retired officials and other servants of British nationality in the context of the UK leaving the EU under Article 50 TEU“. It was first published on 15th December, disappeared, but reappeared again after some corrections. The study is not representing an official position of the European Parliament. You can read it here (EN only).

It confirms our analysis that officials who no longer hold the nationality of a Member State may be dismissed (decision to be taken by the Appointing Authority) without any social security cover while the contracts (CDD or CDI) of other servants will be automatically terminated (unless the Appointing Authority grants a derogation), but with the application of the general rules on notice, unemployment, etc., applicable in the event of termination of employment. It however forgets to mention that those provisions will only be applicable to UK staff having no other EU nationality.

We also consider some other aspects of this study to be misleading, notably in presuming that the UK will somehow be responsible for paying the pensions of former UK officials, either by paying this money into the EU budget, setting up a pension fund or becoming the paying agent itself. Union Syndicale insists that the pensions of former EU staff, whatever their nationality, are to be paid from the EU budget. On the other hand, the UK is liable for a proportion of the pensions of all EU officials corresponding to its current share in the EU budget.

Although rather “old” in this ongoing process, the following text (Brexit and you) reflects about some reflections to take into consideration, like f.i. when you consider changing your nationality (No. 10). More FAQ can be found in several languages on the page of the Commission.

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