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Theresa May’s Plans For EU Citizens Branded ‘Damp Squib’ By The European Parliament

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Theresa May’s Plans For EU Citizens that was Branded ‘Damp Squib’ The European Parliament has branded Theresa May’s proposals on EU citizens’ rights a “damp squib” and said they will not approve a Brexit deal that does not offer more.

In articles published across Europe, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt and other key figures said the Prime Minister’s proposals for the three million EU nationals that live in the UK fall short of its own ambitions to “put citizens first”.

 Branded 'Damp Squib'
Branded ‘Damp Squib’

“It would,” Mr Verhofstadt states, “cast a dark cloud of vagueness and uncertainty over the lives of millions of Europeans”.

One of Ms May’s supposed “red lines” in the negotiations with the EU is ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK, one consequence of which has been a suggestion from David Davis that a new “supranational body” would have to be established to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK.

supranational body
supranational body

“In the EU proposal, British people and Europeans keep the same rights and the same level of protection they currently enjoy under European law,” he said. “The UK response to our proposal came three weeks later. It was a damp squib. The British Government proposes that – the day after Brexit – Europeans obtain the status of ‘third country nationals’. These nationals would get fewer rights in the UK than British citizens are offered throughout the EU.”

The articles, which are jointly penned by Mr Verhofstadt and the leaders of key groupings in the European Parliament, also say that the UK offer risks creating “a second class of citizenship” and that the offer contradicts even “the ‘Vote Leave’ manifesto”, which, it says, “promised it would treat EU citizens no less favourably than at present”.


In strongly worded comments that will be read across the continent, Mr Verhofstadt said: “The European Union has a common mission to extend, enhance and expand rights, not to reduce them. We will never endorse the retroactive removal of acquired rights.”

It also questions the complex application process, first for residence requirements and a second for “settled status”, a situation that would make Britain “the new champion of red tape”.

There are further questions surrounding differential tuition fees for university students, the recognition of qualifications for doctors, and the complex status of some UK Border Agency staff who work in the UK but live in the EU.

European parliamentary elections
European parliamentary elections

It also makes clear that there can be no extension to the 31 March 2019 deadline, as European parliamentary elections are due to take place in May of that year, by which point the UK must be out.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the Government’s approach had “turned our closest allies against us”.

“This Government’s heartless approach has alienated our friends in Europe. The Prime Minister has turned our closest allies against us, the only person we have left is Donald Trump.

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