In a bid to keep things moving in Brexit negotiations, Theresa May presented a new European citizens deal. The new European citizens deal showcases the importance of soft Brexit as the way forward for both Britain and the European Union.
The New European Citizens Deal
Around 3 million European nationals are residing in the UK. The new European citizens deal after kicking off the Brexit negotiations gives the Nationals more time. United Kingdom would offer “UK settled status” to EU citizens for the next five years. The new European citizens deal “UK settled status” will give them access to services like education, health, and others.
However, the new European citizens deal does not come without covenant. In return, the EU will also grant a similar deal to the British citizens living the European Union.
The Ease of Uncertainty on Both Sides
There remained uncertainty about the fate of the UK nationals in the EU and vice versa. Since the deadline for the finalization of the Brexit negotiations is 30th March 2019. The announcement will give new hope to both the EU and British citizens.
The Prime Minister of the UK, addressing the first summit after the snap UK elections 2017, said that she did not want the families to suffer because of this decision. She further stated that the EU must consider it a reasonable and serious offer. This new offer, as per the PM, will give more certainty.
There remains confusion about the cut-off date for the new residents coming to the UK from the EU. Some media reports suggest that the British government will offer some grace period for the new arrivals to the UK.
Criticism on Theresa May’s Announcement
The Labour Party argues that the announcement came in very late. The party contends that the offer falls way short of the expectations. The shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer states that the statement lacks clear commitment.
The Democrats say that Theresa May should have come forward right from the start. However, she took a lot of time to make the announcement. The party further argued that the Prime Minister used the EU citizens as “bargaining chips,” and she continues to do so.
Angela Merkel on the Theresa May’s Announcement
The German Chancellor termed it as a ‘good start’ for the Brexit negotiations. However, she wants the ‘widest possible guarantees’ for the European citizens living in the United Kingdom. The German Chancellor did point out to the many unanswered questions relating to the Brexit. She was mainly more concerned about the EU’s relationship with Ireland and management of Finances post-Brexit. Therefore, she believed, the EU and the UK had a lot to catch up to by October.
Other Reactions to the Announcement
Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU Commission President, described the decision as a first step. However, he said termed it as not sufficient enough, saying a lot needed to be done.
Christian Kern, the Austrian Chancellor, stated that it was a good offer, but it did not cover a lot of EU citizens. He further added that he wanted the issue to get resolved at the earliest possible.