EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the 27 EU countries will keep any social benefits acquired before withdrawal in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Text adopted by the Employment and Social Affairs Committee subject to full EU Parliament approval aims to safeguard people's entitlements to social security benefits based on insurance, employment or residence.
The contingency measures would apply to EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in one of the 27 member states who have acquired social entitlements due to the free movement of people.
The measures will be adopted across the EU only if the UK leaves with no withdrawal agreement in place.
The European Commission will assess how the measures are working one year after the regulation is implemented and produce a report for the EU Parliament and MEPs.
Jean Lambert (Greens/EFA, UK) said: “Citizens' rights have always been a priority for the European Parliament. This contingency legislation at least establishes the bare bones of social security rights and entitlements for people finding themselves in a very difficult situation.”
Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE) said: “Europeans who have exercised their right to free movement must not become collateral damage in any Brexit scenario. The European Commission is committed to bringing forward necessary legislation to bridge any gaps and ensure that those who exercised their right to free movement do not lose out post Brexit.”
The agreed measures will now need to be confirmed by a vote in the 11-14 March full Parliament session. The legislation must also be published before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.