Theresa May is coming under pressure to abandon her stance in refusing to make any concessions to EU citizens in the UK prior to any concessions are extended to UK citizens in the EU from Sir Keir Starmer, former head of the of the Crown Prosecution Service, Labour MP and now Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Brexit, who suggested that legislation should be passed aimed at protecting EU citizens’ (now amounting to three million people) permanence in the UK before Brexit talks are commenced.
Concerns are being expressed in Brussels on the matter, as EU negotiators suggest the UK should have the issue addressed before March 2017, when Article 50 will reportedly be triggered. Relationships between the EU and the UK have been particularly tense since the Brexit referendum. Donald Tusk, president of the European Commission, suggested the issue would have to wait for formal negotiations.
Theresa May, however, appears to be satisfied with her line of action, as she believes that, if she had protected the rights of EU citizen in the UK before obtaining equal guarantees for UK expats, the latter would have been left high and dry.
Although the vast majority of EU citizens (those who have been in the UK for more than 5 years) will likely be allowed to remain in the country, the whole “permanent residence” concept was an EU concept and will therefore cease to be valid once Brexit is triggered.
Mixed messages appear to have been received in Brussels, as it is still unclear whether Theresa May will choose hard or soft Brexit. More worringly, the UK government has not revealed what kind of relationship the UK intents to entertain with the EU. This is also believed to have added to the strained relations between London and Brussels which will only serve to make the negotiations even harder.
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