Clearing the first Brexit hurdle
This editorial first appeared in Bloomberg View:
The first task for the Brexit negotiators is to agree on the rights of European Union citizens in Britain, and of U.K. citizens in the EU. In a rational world, this would be straightforward. In the real world, it will be a problem if one side or the other chooses to make it one.
Roughly 3.2 million EU citizens live in Britain, and 1.2 million U.K. citizens live in Europe. Brexit casts doubt on their residency status and future rights. The fairest and least disruptive solution is reciprocity: EU citizens in the U.K. and U.K. citizens in the EU should have the same rights.
A more fundamental worry has centred on the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. the British government has emphasized the need to recover sovereignty from EU institutions, and especially from the ECJ; the EU has seemed equally determined to preserve the full sway of the court in matters relating to its citizens. This may be changing. Bloomberg reported the EU could be willing to let a new arbitration body protect the future rights of EU citizens in Britain. Prime Minister Theresa May has previously suggested a similar compromise.
Whatever happens, Brexit will be a severe blow, especially to Britain — but there’s no need to make a bad situation worse.