The majority of MEPs have made clear that Theresa May’s plans to give EU citizens in the UK a “settled status” after Brexit falls “far short of what citizens are entitled to”.
In a joint letter to newspapers, MEPs from four political groups, which make up two-thirds of the votes in the European Parliament, said that the British government’s plans offered Europeans in the UK fewer rights than Britons in the EU. They made clear they would not endorse any deal that would strip EU citizens of their rights, and they claim the UK’s offer would create red-tape and uncertainty for millions of people.
In an article published in the Guardian, European Parliament chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said:
“In the European parliament we accept that the Brexit decision was a democratic choice, but we were never convinced Brexit would be a positive development economically: certainly not for the standing of Europe and the UK in the world and, most importantly, not for citizens. The UK proposal only confirms this belief – falling short of its own ambitions to “put citizens first”. If implemented, it would cast a dark cloud of vagueness and uncertainty over the lives of millions of Europeans.”
These MEPs have the power to reject any Brexit deal before it could be implemented, and their dismissal of the May’s plans is another demonstration of the poor start to negotiations between the UK and EU.