‘Brexit talk on cit­i­zens’ rights is non­sense’

Juncker says UK should have taken op­tion of keep­ing sta­tus quo

Gulf News - - EUROPE -

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?”

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