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UK Plan on European Citizens Received Coldly | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 23, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

Brussels- The fate of around three million European citizens in UK is one of the most controversial topics in negotiations with Brussels since BREXIT.

On Thursday, British Prime Minister Theresa May had a more flexible tone in the European Summit especially after the weak position she was put in when she failed to garner a parliamentary majority. She said that she will grant the EU citizens the rights and duties decided by the British courts and not the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Upon her arrival to the summit, May said, “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.”

EU leaders however coldly received May’s offer which she described as ‘fair’ to protect rights of resident European citizens in the UK after BREXIT.

“That’s a first step but this step is not sufficient,” said European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, while Belgium called the plan “particularly vague”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared the talks a good start but said there was more work to do.

One year after the British people voting over exiting the EU, May pledged that no one will be compelled to leave the country because of BREXIT, offering permanent rights in healthcare, education, social-care and retirement for Europeans who arrived to the country before the withdrawal date.

However, the British PM refused to specify a date, noting only for the period of March 29 2017 when Britain issued a mechanism for its expected exit after two years.