23 June 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May has briefed 27 other European Union leaders on her proposals to protect the status of more than three million EU expatriates living in the UK.
At a European Council summit in Brussels on Thursday, Mrs May laid out her plans to guarantee the rights of the 3.2 EU expats in Britain. Downing Street declined to detail the proposals but said they would be published on Monday.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he hoped other EU leaders would meet the “generosity” of her plan with a similar deal to protect the rights of the 1.2 million UK citizens living on the continent.
The European Commission has made settlement of the expats’ status one of the primary objectives of initial Brexit negotiations and says it will not undertake any talks on a future trade deal until the issue is satisfactorily resolved.
Arriving in Brussels, Mrs May said the Brexit talks, which formally started on Monday, had began “constructively”. She added: “What I am going to be setting out today is clearly how the United Kingdom proposes to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and see the rights of UK citizens living in Europe protected.
“That’s been an important issue. We’ve wanted it to be one of the early issues to be considered in the negotiations. That is now the case. That work is starting.”
Ahead of the summit, Mr Johnson said: “What the Prime Minister will be able to do is set out, as she has tried actually to do several times, her instinct to be generous about the 3.2 million EU citizens who are living here and hoping that there will be reciprocal, corresponding generosity towards the one million UK nationals in the rest of the EU.
“I think she’s got a great offer to make and I hope it will go down well.”