Friday, 23 June 2017

Commission President says British proposal on EU citizens ‘not sufficient’

Commission president says British proposal on EU citizens ‘not sufficient’

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker suggested on Friday he was less than impressed by a British offer to settle the rights of EU citizens in Britain after the country’s exit from the bloc.

“[It’s] a step, but this step is not sufficient,” Juncker said on the sidelines of a two-day European Union summit in Brussels.

British Prime Minister Theresa May presented an offer to her 27 EU counterparts Thursday night outlining the rights of EU citizens to remain in Britain, telling reporters on Friday that the proposal was “fair and serious.”

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“I want to reassure all those EU citizens who are in the UK, who have made their lives and homes in the UK, that no one will have to leave, we won’t be seeing families split apart,” May said.

May reportedly told her EU counterparts that the more than three million EU citizens currently living in Britain will be given a chance to settle their status and gain British citizenship.

The offer includes equal treatment as British citizens when it comes to health care, education, benefits and pensions.

Asked whether he had a clear idea about the kind of Brexit the British Prime Minister Theresa May envisaged, Juncker said, “No.”

The summit was held just days after negotiations over the terms of Britain’s exit began on Monday.

The future of the European Union remained in sharp focus on the second day of the summit as EU leaders prepared to discuss economic growth, trade and migration.

Leaders discussed strengthened cooperation on several issues, including pledging on Thursday to work more closely together on defence and security.

Boosting jobs, competitiveness and trade were top of the agenda, with heads of state and government also expected to discuss Europe’s migrant crisis and the fight against human trafficking across the central Mediterranean.

No breakthrough is expected in efforts to reform the EU’s asylum system.(dpa/NAN)

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