Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to safeguard the rights of EU nationals living in the UK – even in the event of a no deal in the Brexit negotiations.
Speaking in a strongly worded press conference at Downing Street, she said that the UK and EU had reached an “impasse”, adding that Britain deserved to be “treated with respect” by the European Union.
“There are over three million EU citizens living in the UK who will be understandably worried about what the outcome of yesterday’s summit means for their future,” she said.
“I want to be clear with you, that even in the event of a no deal, your rights will be protected. You are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues. We want you to stay.”
Rights for EU nationals living in the UK have been an ongoing issue ever since the UK voted to leave the bloc in 2016, with their rights to basic things like residency, health care, education all in effectively in limbo.
‘We Need To Hear What The Real Issues Are’
Speaking about the need to work together, May added: “We need to hear from the EU what the real issues are, and what their alternative is, so we can discuss them and we can make progress.”
In a defiant speech she slammed EU leaders for rejecting Britain’s proposals, saying without detailed alternatives, it was “not acceptable”.
“At this late stage in the negotiations, it is not acceptable to simply reject the other side’s proposals without a detailed explanation and counter-proposals […] Until we do, we cannot make progress.”
On citizens: source: “It is a unilateral guarantee of citizen’s rights, effectively — so that people can live and work broadly as they do now, even in the event of no deal”. Details to come
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) September 21, 2018
The PM also pointed to Northern Ireland as a sticking point in the current Brexit negotiations, saying the Government “will do everything in our power to prevent a return to a hard border.”
It comes after EU leaders said her Chequers plan would not work, during a summit in Salzburg.
Papers were quick to label the summit a “disaster”, with today’s speech emphasising how a no deal Brexit was a strong possibility – something which could have big implications for our rights.