EU citizens rights: how proposals differ from current rights

EU citizens rights: how proposals differ from current rights
By Euronews
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Guy Verhofstadt says current deal on the table is “falling short”


The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator has called it a “damp squib”, but how does the British government’s proposal to EU citizens differ from current rights?

Guy Verhofstadt, chair of the European parliament’s Brexit steering group, said in a letter with other MEPs the current deal on the table is “falling short” of ambitions to “put citizens first”.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has previously said the EU’s goal on citizens rights was the “same level of protection as in EU law”.

Here are some of the key differences:

Settled status

UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan would let EU nationals who have lived in Britain for five consecutive years to apply for “settled status”, allowing them remain in the country once Britain leaves the EU.

People who have been resident for less than five years will be able to remain and then apply for settled status once they have stayed long enough.

Under current rules, EU nationals can live, work and travel freely without time restrictions, and have access to welfare, pensions and the NHS.

Family members

Verhofstadt and the letter’s co-writers said the status of “post-Brexit” babies was still unclear, and families will be subject to “minimum income requirements”.

Youngsters currently have the same rights as adults.


Under the proposals, it is believed EU citizens in Britain will need special ID cards to prove they can stay after the formal withdrawal from the EU.

Privacy campaigners also fear the documents will require “biometric information”, such as fingerprints.

Currently, no special identification is required.


May wants the British courts to be able to decide on any disputes.

The EU’s position is that the European Court of Justice should be the arbiter of any future disagreements over citizens’ rights.

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