British Prime Minister Theresa May has told the European Union (EU) leaders that the EU citizens, who had arrived lawfully before the Brexit, would be given a new ‘settled status’ allowing them to stay in Britain if they have lived here five years. May, who was speaking at the end of a dinner at an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, after formal Brexit talks kicked off on Monday, said that UK was willing to agree to a “cutoff point” between 29 March this year, when she had formally triggered article 50, and the later date of March 2019 preferred by the European commission.
This was May’s opening offer over the issue of the future rights of EU citizens. Both UK and the EU have said they would like this issue to be resolved early in the talks. The EU citizens, under the special category of “settled status”, would get the same rights to work, pensions, NHS care and other public services as British citizens, which they will maintain for life. “The UK’s position represents a fair and serious offer, and one aimed at giving as much certainty as possible to citizens who have settled in the UK, building careers and lives and contributing so much to our society,” The Guardian quoted May as saying.
As per the report, the offer, which is contingent on a reciprocal pledge about the rights of the 1.5 million British citizens currently living elsewhere in the EU, falls short of the EU’s demand for its citizens living in the UK to maintain all EU rights in perpetuity. However, the UK rejected the EU’s demand to allow the European court of justice to be the guarantor of those rights.