Brexit: EU leaders says UK offer could “worsen situation”

Brexit: EU leaders says UK offer could “worsen situation”

PanARMENIAN.Net - European leaders have criticised the UK's offer to EU nationals after Brexit - with one senior figure claiming it could "worsen the situation" for them, BBC News reports.

European Council President Donald Tusk said the plan was "below expectations" while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there had been "no breakthrough".

Theresa May conceded there were differences between the two sides.

But the prime minister said those who had "made their lives and homes" in the UK would have their rights guaranteed.

She also suggested that while rights would be enforced by British courts, they could also be enshrined in international law if the agreement was included in the final treaty of withdrawal.

Both the UK and the rest of the EU say they want to come to an arrangement to secure the status of the 3.2 million EU citizens in the UK and the estimated 1.2 million Britons living in EU countries.

Under plans announced on Thursday by May, the UK envisages giving all EU citizens the right to stay after the UK's exit - due on 30 March 2019 - and granting those resident for at the least five years the same rights to welfare, pensions and education as UK citizens.

However, no cut-off date for the package has been specified by Downing Street and further details of the plans will not be released until Monday, June 26.

The offer has received a mixed response from EU leaders with some describing it as a "good start" but calling for more detail.

Speaking at a joint press conference with French president Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there was a "long way to go".

"That was a good beginning but - and I'm trying to word this very carefully - it was not a breakthrough," she said.

"We don't want a wedge to be driven between us. We do want to make our interests very clear and if there is no guarantee for the full freedoms, then this exercise will have to lead to a situation where there are certain effects on the future relationship between the UK and the 27 member states."

Tusk, who represents the other EU 27 nations, said the EU would "analyse line by line" the UK's proposals when they were published in full but his "first impression is that the UK's offer is below our expectations and that it risks worsening the situation of citizens". And Joseph Muscat, the prime minister of Malta - who currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU - warned of people being "treated differently" depending on when they arrived in the UK.

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