EU Parliament threatens to veto UK's 'damp squib' offer to EU nationals


May has been criticized on a regular basis since making public her plans to extend rights to the 3.2 million EU nationals living in Britain after Brexit.

The proposals put forward by May were described as a “damp squib” in a letter written by EU Parliament chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt and leaders of the parliament’s four main parties, and published Monday.

“The proposal falls 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,” the letter read.

According to the British government’s plans, a new “settled status” would allow EU nationals who have lived in the UK for five years to remain and enjoy access to health care, education and other benefits.

EU nationals who have spent a shorter time in the UK would be allowed to remain until they reach the five-year point, at which stage they can apply for settled status. Others who arrive after an as-yet-undisclosed cut-off date will benefit from a “grace period,” expected to last two years.

May has promised families will not be split up, but her government says that all EU citizens and their families must obtain an immigration status irrespective of when they arrived in the country.

The proposal is dependent on British nationals living in EU states being offered a reciprocal deal.

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But Verhofstadt and his fellow European politicians says the proposal falls short of the promises made by the Vote Leave campaign, which said it would treat EU citizens “no less favorably than at present” once Britain withdraws from the EU.

“The British government proposes that — the day after Brexit — Europeans obtain the status of ‘third country nationals’,” the letter read.

“These nationals would get fewer rights in the UK than British citizens are offered throughout the EU. Europeans will not only lose their right to vote in local elections, their future family members will also be subject to minimum income requirements, and it is unclear what the status of ‘post-Brexit’ babies will be.

“The British proposal carries a real risk of creating a second class of citizenship.”

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