‘Brexit talk on citizens’ rights is nonsense’
Juncker says UK should have taken option of keeping status quo
Jean-Claude Juncker has dismissed Brexit negotiations over citizens’ rights as a “nonsense”, claiming he could not understand why the British had not guaranteed from the start that everything would remain the same for European nationals after the UK leaves the EU.
The European commission president told students in Luxembourg yesterday that progress was being made on the issue but he failed to see why the British had not taken the “common sense” option of retaining the status quo.
Ahead of a European council summit next week, where leaders are expected to conclude that talks about any future trading relationship with Britain will have to be delayed due to a lack of progress on citizens’ rights, Irish border and the divorce bill, Juncker also said the British were learning “day after day” about the perils of their choice to leave the bloc.
“We had the idea that we would clear all questions related to the divorce, but it’s not possible. Citizens’ rights, yeah, we are making progress. I don’t even understand this problem. Why not say, easily, with common sense - which is not a political category, as we know - that things will stay as they are? The Europeans ‘foreigners’, as they are saying in London - they are there in the island, and so many British friends are here. Let them here, let them there. Why are we discussing nonsense like that?”