In a bid to tackle the consequences of a possible Hard Brexit on EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living on the continent, on 22 February 2019 the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the EU (Coreper) approved a draft regulation on establishing contingency measures for social security coordination.

At the same time, the Belgian government submitted to parliament a draft bill specifying transitional measures for social security entitlements if no withdrawal agreement is concluded with the UK.

Both regulations aim to safeguard social security entitlements for people affected by a Hard Brexit - namely UK nationals and EU citizens who have been in a situation involving the UK.

According to these regulations, EU member states should continue applying the core principles of EU social security coordination (i.e. equality, assimilation and aggregation) for any situation that occurred before the UK’s withdrawal. These measures guarantee thereby that the EU and UK nationals will continue to benefit from their social security rights acquired before UK’s withdrawal from the Union.

In addition, the Belgian bill provides that EU rules will be applied in full until 31 December 2020. This bill, however, is subject to reciprocity.

In other words, if the UK does not grant reciprocal rights to Belgian expats in the UK after Brexit, the Belgian law should be considered inapplicable.

Lastly, both regulations will only enter into force if no withdrawal agreement has been concluded with the UK.

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