Tentative welcome for British offer on EU nationals

27 Jun 17

European Union leaders have cautiously welcomed prime minister Theresa May’s proposals on the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK after Brexit but warn there are still “worrisome” limitations.

The UK government yesterday outlined what will happen to EU nationals living in Britain after the Brexit deadline passes in 2019.

EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years or more will be able to apply for ‘settled status’ granting them access to healthcare, education and other state benefits.

Guy Verhofstadt, who is leading the European Parliament’s response to Brexit, said: “I welcome the fact that we have finally received a counter-proposal from the UK, which is also a public document.”

He said the parliament’s Brexit Steering Group would study the UK’s proposals in the coming days.

Verhofstadt added: “At first glance, there is a least one element that makes a difference, namely the commitment to simplify existing administrative procedures. “However, a number of limitations remain worrisome and will have to be carefully assessed.” However the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, tweeted that he wanted more detail from the UK.

Lord Green, who chairs the think-tank Migration Watch UK said May’s offer was a “very generous” and “fully respects the reasonable demands of EU citizens who have made their lives here”.

But he said the European Court of Justice should not have oversight of the rights of EU nationals in the UK.

“Having decided to leave the EU, the public would never accept the jurisdiction of a foreign court over our internal affairs.”

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