Will EU nationals become second-class citizens?
The British government on Monday presented its plans for the 3.2 million EU nationals living in the UK after Brexit. Those who have lived in Britain for more than five years will be able to apply for unlimited residency with full access to education, the pension system and public healthcare. All others would receive a temporary residence permit. Not all media see the plans as sound.
Read the small print first
The EU Commission has criticised the regulations set out by May as inadequate. La Vanguardia sees this as a psychological negotiating tactic:
“It suggests that Brussels is in no hurry and is not about to rely on promises, good intentions or great British principles without first reading the small print. … Often accused of turning its back on the citizens and living in a bubble, the European Union wants to show that its priority is to safeguard people's rights. Before tackling the subject that is the major concern for May's government, the new rules for trade relations, Brussels wants to ensure that EU citizens won't become second-class citizens in the UK.”
A sensible proposal
Brexit no longer poses a threat to the free movement of persons, Le Quotidien writes in relief:
“Just a few months ago Theresa May's tone was significantly harsher. The catastrophic elections have deprived the British of their upper hand. The threat of an exit fine of several billion euros and an agenda that promises to be far more complex than anticipated have dampened the passion of Brexit's most fervent supporters. Free circulation of people has a rosy future. ... It seems that all parties at the table are looking for a reasonable solution. ... A year ago, Brexit was seen as the end of the EU. Now the Union is all the stronger, bonded by what lies ahead.”
Where are the guarantees for British nationals?
Theresa May is rightly calling for reciprocity, The Daily Telegraph comments:
“Mrs May has been criticised for not promising to underpin the rights of three million EU citizens unilaterally. But the Prime Minister is right to insist upon reciprocal arrangements for more than one million British nationals living on the continent before committing the Government to irrevocable decisions. This is not about using EU nationals who came here in good faith as 'bargaining chips'. It is about securing the status of Britons who are living overseas, also in good faith.”