Friday, June 23, 2017

May defends proposals for EU citizens living in Britain

British Prime Minister Theresa May has defended her proposals to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in Britain, saying several leaders of the bloc had reacted positively and she wanted agreement as soon as possible.


Mrs May outlined to EU leaders over dinner last night her plans to grant permanent rights to an estimated three million European citizens living in Britain after Brexit.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said that the proposals were "not sufficient", while Belgium called the plan "particularly vague".

"That's a first step but this step is not sufficient," Mr Juncker told reporters as he arrived for the second day of an EU summit in Brussels.

At a news conference after the summit this afternoon, Mrs May said she wanted negotiations for Britain to leave the European Union to continue in the constructive fashion that was struck on Monday when they began.

She said: "I remain of the view that this is a fair and serious offer and let's be clear about what we're saying: those citizens from EU countries that come to the United Kingdom and made their lives and homes in the United Kingdom will be able to stay and we will guarantee their rights in the United Kingdom.

"I think that's a very serious offer. There are some differences between that and the proposals of the European Commission but the matter will now go into the negotiations."

It was her first offer on one of the most contentious issues of the negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.

European Council President Donald Tusk said the offer was "below expectations".

"Citizens' rights are the number one priority for the EU 27 and we have made our position clear. We want to ensure the full rights for EU and UK citizens after Brexit," Mr Tusk told reporters.

"My first impression," he said, "Is that the UK's offer is below our expectations and that it risks worsening the situation of citizens. But it will be for our negotiation team to analyse the offer line by line once we receive it on paper."

EU leaders have refused to debate the issue at the summit, saying it is a matter for the Brexit negotiators, but their public reaction this morning was distinctly cool.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the proposal outlined by Mrs May was "particularly vague".

He said he looked forward to seeing the more technical details, including on judicial oversight of citizens’ rights, when Britain publishes a formal paper on the issue on Monday.

"We don't want to buy a pig in a poke," he said.

"The rights of European citizens should be guaranteed in the long term."

"My first impression," he said, "Is that the UK's offer is below our expectations and that it risks worsening the situation of citizens. But it will be for our negotiation team to analyse the offer line by line once we receive it on paper."...
 [rte.ie]
23/6/17

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