Brexit preparedness: EU preparations help safeguard citizens’ social security entitlements


As part of its Brexit preparedness and contingency work, the European Commission has taken several measures to protect EU citizens and UK nationals who are or have been living or working in another Member State. While the European Commission remains committed to concluding the Withdrawal Agreement, it is still possible that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal. As many EU and UK citizens have made their life choices based on rights related to free movement under EU law, a “no-deal” withdrawal can have harsh consequences on their lives. To protect social security rights related to situations before the withdrawal date, the Commission has proposed an EU regulation, which has already been approved by the European Parliament and the Council. In addition to the Regulation, we have worked with EU-27 Member States to ensure a common approach. More concretely, we have recommended that Member States use national, unilateral measures to, amongst other things, continue to export old-age pension to persons residing in the United Kingdom, and to address ongoing medical treatments. The Commission has also published information for citizens on living, working and travelling in the EU and the UK. Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “A “no-deal” is not the outcome we want, but it is a scenario we are preparing for. The millions of EU citizens who worked in the United Kingdom before the withdrawal will not lose these pension rights when retiring in the EU. Patients should be able to finalise ongoing medical treatment in the UK. Not everything will be smooth, but we will try to mitigate the negative impact of a “no-deal” Brexit. I believe that the Withdrawal Agreement remains the best possible outcome for everyone concerned, but the EU will put citizens first, whichever scenario occurs.” A range of factsheets can be consulted online and the text of the Contingency Regulation is available here. A press conference with Commissioner Thyssen, where further details of the EU’s preparedness in the area of employment and social affairs will be presented, can be watched on EbS.