Effect of Brexit
When the UK leaves the EU the status of UK nationals currently working in EU institutions or agencies 76 and of EU staff working in EU bodies in the UK will change. On 29 January UK Commissioner Julian King and Commissioner Gunther Oettinger told UK staff working in the EU institutions there would be no discrimination towards them while the EU Treaties apply to the UK (e.g. in appointments and promotions), and new contracts or contract renewals signed before Brexit would run beyond 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), in line with existing rules.
Articles 96 – 114 of the draft WA aim to settle certain rights and obligations in respect of people, property, assets, and benefits.
EU nationality is a general pre-condition for the employment of EU staff members, as set out in the Staff Regulations and Conditions of Employment of other servants of the European Union (CEOS). The Hofmann report (see above) outlines the situation after Brexit for UK officials and other agents as follows:
Under the legislation in force, the two main categories of EU staff
– officials and agents – are treated differently. The employment of EU officials of UK nationality may cease under the rules of the Staff Regulations in the event of Brexit. The employment contracts of EU agents of UK nationality automatically end in the case of Brexit-induced loss of EU citizenship under the rules of the CEOS.
Under Article 90(1) of the Staff Regulations, EU officials and agents of UK nationality have a right to ask their appointing authorities to take a decision to clarify whether they qualify for an exception to the nationality requirement.
Continuing immunities and privileges
This Protocol will not apply in the UK after Brexit. But the December 2017 Joint Report outlined at para. 95 the commitment agreed by the negotiating parties to protect immunities and privileges:
On issues relating to the functioning of the Union institutions, agencies and bodies, both Parties agree that an arrangement which closely mirrors Union privileges and immunities should remain applicable to activities that took place before withdrawal and as regards new activities foreseen in the Withdrawal
Article 101 stipulates that existing rights to immunity from prosecution under Article 8 of the Protocol will apply in the UK “in respect of opinions expressed or votes cast by members of the European Parliament, irrespective of their nationality, including former members, in the performance of their duties before the end of the transition period”. Several draft Articles in this Title would continue the EU rules granting EU officials, judges, and politicians immunity from prosecution and tax obligations until the end of the transition period.
This and other commitments to staff include the following:
– the continuation of privileges and immunities for staff working for the EU before the end of the transition period and after the end of the transition period in connection with activities of the EU;
– the UK will not be able to exclude the staff of the European Central Bank or European Investment Bank, or expropriate assets or render them unrepatriable, due to exchange restrictions during any transition period;
– avoidance of double taxation;
– the payment of EU unemployment benefit to all staff who contributed to the scheme;
– the transfer of pension rights;
– The Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) will continue to apply to UK staff and family members until 31 August 2021 – the end of the school year ongoing at the end of the transition period.
Professional secrecy and classified information
The December 2017 Joint Report committed the parties to “ensure compliance with obligations of professional secrecy, and that classified information and other documents obtained by both sides whilst the UK was a Member State retain the same level of protection as before withdrawal”. Articles 115 – 120 ensure that these obligations continue.