Expats become a bargaining chip
UK PRIME Minister Theresa May has claimed her offer to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK has been snubbed by some European leaders.
In her keynote speech on Tuesday, Mrs May said she wanted to seal an early deal on the issue of the three million EU citizens in the UK and British expats living in Europe, but she did not have the backing of all 27 member states.
“We want to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain and the rights of Britons in other member states as early as we can,” she stated.
Mrs May said she had told EU leaders the deal could be secured now.
“Many of them favour such an agreement, one or two others do not,” she said.
Following the speech, EU chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said the British government had chosen a ‘hard Brexit’.
He added: “I am also surprised by the lack of clarity on the status of UK citizens in Europe and EU citizens in Britain.
“May should have taken the legitimate concerns of the 48% on board.”
Mr Verhofstadt said the European Parliament will prepare for the negotiations ahead but the days of ‘UK cherry-picking’ have come to an end.
“I want to be clear - threatening to turn Britain into a tax heaven is a counterproductive negotiating tactic, which will hurt British people and damage Britain’s credibility,” he stated.
President of the European Commission JeanClaude Juncker said he had spoken to Theresa May on Tuesday evening and told her the Commission was not in a hostile mood.
“We want a fair deal with Britain, and a fair deal for Britain, but a fair deal means a fair deal for the European Union,” he said.
He added it would be ‘a very, very, very difficult negotiation’ because Britain would be considered as a foreign country to the rest of the EU.
Pound plummets but climbs again
The immediate consequence of Theresa May's 'Clean Brexit' speech was a fall in pound sterling in the international markets.
The official rate dropped from 1.145 to 1.130 on Monday when key aspects of the PM's speech were leaked out.
However, the British currency recovered during the next few days and yesterday (Thursday) it increased its value against the euro to 1.155.
In Benidorm exchange offices the rate offered was 1.13 euros to the pound yesterday.
Expats living on the Costas who were hoping for a 'soft' Brexit that would have resulted in a status such as Norwegian or Swiss citizens have were delivered a severe blow.
Analysts have regarded 'Clean Brexit' as a 'Hard Brexit with better PR'. Her 12-point plan rules out partial membership and will not include remaining in the Common Market.