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World
23 Jun 2017

Brexit negotiations: May reassures EU citizens with 'UK settled status'

Is Theresa May leaning towards a soft Brexit?

Allaying EU citizens concerns on Brexit, British PM Theresa May assured that EU citizens who have been residing in the UK for five years will be given a 'UK settled status'. "No one will face a cliff edge", she promised.

The future of EU citizens in UK and Britons in Europe is a key issue in the Brexit negotiations, which commenced in Brussels recently.

In context

Is Theresa May leaning towards a soft Brexit?

What is Brexit?

The process on Britain's exit from the EU was triggered when the results of a June 2016 referendum indicated that 52% of the voters wanted Britain to leave the Union. 'Leave' supporters want Britain to be rid of quintessential EU regulations including free movement.

What context is this happening in?

Context

What context is this happening in?

Brexit had triggered fears of deportation among 3.2 million EU citizens residing in the UK.

The negotiations commenced this week, with EU citizens rights identified as a top priority issue.

Ahead of May's current offer, EU leaders had recommended that Britons in the EU be granted the same rights as European citizens, enforceable by the European Court of Human Rights.

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Details

UK settled status: May reassures European citizens

Applicable to citizens who have resided in the UK for five years, the status would grant EU citizens equal rights on par with British citizens on matters including healthcare and education.

"UK does not want anyone here to have to leave, nor does it want families to be split up",noted May.

However, an announcement on a deadline for obtaining the status is still awaited.

Analysis

What does this mean?

The Conservative Party's unexpectedly bad performance in the UK parliamentary elections seems to have toned down May's initial harsh rhetoric on Brexit, reducing the probability of extreme outcomes in the negotiations.

While May's assurance gives a positive start to the negotiations, crucial issues including future of trade and economic relations and counter terrorism are yet to be resolved.

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