If Great Britain exits the EU without a deal, Great Britain will be considered a third country under EU law, and British citizens will no longer enjoy the current rights as EU citizens.
It is the first time that a member state leaves the EU, and it is not yet possible to predict the implications it will have for the citizens affected if a deal is not made. The EU has therefore urged its member states to adopt a generous approach to British citizens already staying in the member states at the time of exit. The Danish government has now submitted a bill for consultation which will ensure that the persons affected will maintain a number of rights in a transition period.
Right of residence will continue
The bill proposes that the Executive Order on residence in Denmark for aliens falling within the Rules of the European Union will continue to apply to British citizens and their families who are exercising the right to free movement in Denmark. This means that British citizens and their families already staying in Denmark may stay in Denmark on the same terms as today without having to apply for a new residence permit under the rules of the Danish Aliens Act. The bill also proposes that the right to an indefinite stay under EU law continues.
Right to benefits such as sickness benefits and maternity leave will continue
The bill proposes that the rights applying in relation to sickness benefits and maternity leave continue. At the same time, the bill proposes that British citizens having earned the right to Danish social pension at the date when Great Britain exits the EU will maintain that right, and that the right to receive benefits from Denmark in relation to early retirement pension, state pension and flexible benefits is maintained, but that the right to bring along other benefits will lapse.
Principle of equal treatment is maintained
In addition, the bill proposes that the principle of equal treatment under the Regulation concerning free movement of labour is maintained so that British citizens in Denmark are still entitled to equal treatment in relation to other EU citizens, and that Danish citizens and EU citizens are entitled to equal treatment when staying in Great Britain.
It is also proposed that any periods spent in Great Britain will still be included when calculating a person's right to benefits.
Further process of brexit
The bill will only come into force if Great Britain exits the EU without a deal. It is further a condition that the scheme is temporary as the purpose is to ensure a gentle transition to Great Britain’s status as a third country. The proposed amendments show, however, that British citizens in Denmark, and perhaps also Danish citizens staying in Great Britain, are not going to lose all EU rights to begin with, but that efforts are made to ensure a gentle transition. We will follow the development and keep you updated.