UPDATE 1-EU eyes years of Brexit payments, immigration -document
* EU outlines key elements of negotiating directives
* Paper also says EU courts to hold Britain to deal
* Position to be agreed by EU leaders on April 29
(Adds further detail of paper)
By Alastair Macdonald and Jan StrupczewskiBRUSSELS, April 20 (Reuters) - Britain will be paying off
obligations to Brussels for years after Brexit, remain subject
to EU courts and go on letting relatives of European immigrants
settle in the UK, draft EU negotiating documents show.
The demands are contained in a paper, seen by Reuters on
Thursday, that outlines "key elements" of directives for Michel
Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, who will launch talks on a
Brexit treaty after Britain holds a general election on June 8.
Prime Minister Theresa May has put ending "free movement" of
workers from other EU states, budget contributions to Brussels
and oversight by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) among
central planks of her plans for leaving the European Union, due
to happen in March 2019 after a two-year negotiating period.
But in language that echoes a tough line taken by the 27
other EU leaders who will endorse a common position at a summit
on April 29, the paper spells out Brussels' aim to protect the
rights of 3 million EU citizens living in Britain, extract cash
from London to cover a wide range of existing commitments and
ensure EU judges can hold Britain to the treaty after Brexit.
It does not put a figure on what Britain might owe -- May's
ministers dismiss an estimate of 60 billion euros ($64 billion)
floated by the EU -- but said the exit treaty should both set a
"global amount" to honour financial obligations, subject to
later adjustments. It will be fixed in euros, not pounds.
And there would also be "a schedule of annual payments".
That would reflect the fact that loans and guarantees made
by the EU while Britain is a member extend well beyond 2019.
During this transition period, rules would be enforced by
the ECJ, the paper states, in one of numerous references to the
Luxembourg judges' continuing role in Britain. It said the EU
might consider an "alternative dispute settlement" system for
the treaty, but only if that was "equivalent" to the ECJ.
In a particularly pungent demand in a week where Brussels
has slapped down London's claim that it might hang on to two EU
agencies based in the capital [nL8N1HR2WM], the paper says
Britain should "fully cover ... costs" related to moving them
and any other EU bodies to member states staying in the bloc.
The paper, which echoes with additional detail a draft of
the negotiating guidelines to be agreed by leaders next week,
says the EU's first priority is to safeguard the rights forever
under EU law of Europeans living in Britain on Brexit Day -- as
well as pension and other rights of any who have already left.
It spells out that this includes rights, such as taking up a
job or access to public housing, that those residents may choose
to exercise only after Brexit, as well as the ability of family
members to join them after Brexit and enjoy those same rights.
May said on Thursday she would stick to a pledge to cut net
immigration by some two thirds to below 100,000 a year. The EU
approach, given that some 3 million EU citizens are already in
Britain, could affect her ability to meet such targets.
The EU has already voiced concern that British red tape is
making it hard to claim rights to permanent residence after five
years [nL8N1HJ57X] and the paper said it must have a "simple and
swift" procedure in place that should be free or at worst no
more expensive than Britons paid for similar public documents.
In a reflection of some of the complexities that divorce
will entail, the paper said goods placed on the market on either
side of the new EU-UK frontier before Brexit would continue to
be covered by EU rules even if only sold afterwards -- a measure
to address uncertainties about guarantees, labelling and so on.
The paper covered only negotiations on Britain's withdrawal
and not plans to discuss a future free trade agreement.
(editing by Ralph Boulton)
((firstname.lastname@example.org; Reuters Messaging:
Keywords: BRITAIN EU/NEGOTIATIONS (UPDATE 1)