- The UK is seeking assurance on the rights of EU citizens living with them
- The EU has stated that they will not offer any mini-deals
Ever since the announcement of the extension of the Brexit deadline, various parties have been fighting to secure their place in the new arrangement such as the Prime Minister Theresa May, who was even to stave off a vote of no-confidence from her own party in the last week. Another group of people who seem to be doing the same is the government officials who are trying to get assurances from the European Union on the rights of EU citizens in the UK following Brexit.
It was reported on April 29, 2019, that Tory MP Alberto Costa and various campaign groups sat down with the Brexit secretary to demand protection for EU citizens regardless of the outcome of Brexit. This is not the first time such a motion has been put forward as back in February 2019, various MPs supported an amendment to the Prime minister’s Brexit deal.
Unfortunately, the EU has rejected the plan with the European Commission’s spokeswoman Mina Andreeva saying that they would not negotiate mini deals and that the only way citizens’ rights could be guaranteed was through a direct deal between the EU and the UK.
A Tough Call
This cause is of particular interest to Costa as he left his job as an aide to the Scottish Secretary in February 2019 to push this amendment which had 141 MPs across multiple parties backing it. The motion called for the Prime minister to write to the president of the European Council to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the event are the Brexit deal is not reached.
From all indications, however, resolving this issue will not be quite as easy as writing letters as the EU chief Negotiator Michel Barnier wrote to the government back in March saying that it would not be straight forward to cover citizens rights from the rest of the withdrawal agreement.
After meeting with Mr Costa state and the three million campaign groups, Brexit secretary Steve Barclay stated that he would reply to Mr. Barnier for assurances on the rights provided to EU citizens in the UK to be reciprocated but would push against the Prime Minister writing directly European Council president and also called for the inclusion of other state leaders in these negotiations.
“I am glad the secretary of state has agreed to respond to Mr. Barnier directly and insist on protection of five million people’s rights in the absence of the withdrawal agreement being passed,” Mr. Costa said.