Commission warns EU tourists they will need private insurance under no-deal Brexit

EPA-EFE//OLIVIER HOSLET

European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen speaks during a press conference on Brexit preparedness at the European Commission in Brussels, 9 April 2019.

Commission warns EU tourists they will need private insurance under no-deal Brexit


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The European Commission has warned that tourists coming from or to the UK will need to be covered by a private insurance plan in the event of a no-deal Brexit as state coverage will no longer be available to those who have not already been living or working or living in Britain or the EU.

Pension rights and the option to terminate ongoing care treatments were some of the issues that the European Commission said the members of the EU needed to offer UK citizens in the event of a hard Brexit. While Europe’s leaders are due to meet on Wednesday at an extraordinary Summit to seek a way forward for Brexit as they hope to avoid seeing the UK crash out of the bloc, the EU continues to prepare for a worst-case scenario.

The European Parliament and the EU Council agree that European citizens who have lived in the UK must have the right to pay into or receive their pensions, as well as their state-provided health insurance, until the UK leaves. The Commission is now also calling on the Eu-27 to go further and offer their citizens who are living in the UK increased rights to use their home countries’ social security system.

“We have recommended to the Member States to take national, unilateral measures to, continue paying out pensions to people living in the UK and provide ongoing care treatments,” said Marianne Thyssen, the EU’s Commissioner for Social Affairs. “The Commission calls on the EU Member States to reach their own agreements with the UK, which some countries already have,” added Thyssen.

Tourists may require private insurance

Thyssen, however, was clear that EU citizens who are on a temporary visit to the UK as tourists will no longer be given the right to general health care coverage, as their European health insurance card will be invalid.

Thyssen concluded underlining that questions from both sides remain, urging both EU and UK citizens to get informed via the EU’s hotline on the issue. “Our contingency plans cannot replace the exit agreement,” Thyssen said while acknowledging the negative impact of Brexit on European mobility.

“Not everything will be smooth, but we will try to mitigate the negative impact of a “no-deal” Brexit. I believe that the Withdrawal Agreement remains the best possible outcome for everyone concerned, but the EU will put citizens first, whichever scenario occurs,” said Thyssen.

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