Before departing from the Europa building, British Prime Minister Theresa May laid her offer of citizens’ rights on the EU-27 table. As the European Council president Donald Tusk clarified to May on the sidelines, the European Summit is not a Brexit forum, so all those issues should be debated between the EU-UK negotiators.
May made the UK’s position on citizen rights clear to the European heads of state and government at Thursday’s dinner session, but the EU-27 will have to wait until the full paper is tabled at the House of Commons next week, in order to have all details in handy.
On Thursday, May offered EU leaders more clarity for the three million EU citizens that are currently residing in the UK, allowing them of either a full UK citizen status or a stay permit, depending on their arrival date at the Britain.
According to what May clarified to European Council leaders, the UK is determined to provide certainty to every single EU citizen residing at the moment, as no lawfully residing individual will be forced to leave the country after Brexit, but will be given the opportunity to regularize their status.
According to the proposal, any EU citizens that have already resided in the UK for five years before March’s Brexit trigger will be granted UK settled status, meaning that they will be treated by the British government equally with UK citizens for healthcare, education, benefits, and pensions. The final “cutoff” date for EU citizens, is still to be discussed as the EU is willing to secure the rights for all citizens that will decide to move to the UK until Brexit is complete as a process.
As for the “regularization” deadline for citizens that have not secured the five-year residence, a two-year “grace period” is on the table. The UK vows to make a streamlined system as soon as possible, with more details to be given within next week.