May seeks to charm EU summit with offer on citizens

EU President Donald Tusk warned there would be no breakthroughs at the summit, saying that while there had been "promising progress" London needed to come up with more concrete proposals.

May seeks to charm EU summit with offer on citizens

World Bulletin / News Desk

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday pledged to treat European nationals living in Britain fairly after Brexit in a bid to win over sceptical EU leaders at a summit in Brussels.

Her 27 EU counterparts are set to say there is insufficient progress on divorce issues to move on to the second phase dealing with future relations, and the most they can do is to start internal preparations to discuss trade and a transition deal in December.

But in a move to sway EU leaders on what is a key topic for them, May said in an open letter on her Facebook page to the three million EU citizens living in Britain that they are "within touching distance" on a deal to secure their rights after it leaves the bloc in 2019.

"We want people to stay and we want families to stay together," wrote May, promising a new "streamlined" process for settling in Britain, and vowing to set up a group to consult EU citizens.

In a speech to EU leaders at the summit dinner on Thursday, May will also "encourage them to move the conversation on to consider the future partnership and the implementation period, so that they are ready to engage in that discussion as soon as possible," a senior British government official said.

The EU agrees that of the three key separation issues at stake, citizens rights is the most advanced, but that talks on the bill Britain must pay to leave are deadlocked and that discussions on Northern Ireland still have far to go. 

"I don't expect any kind of breakthrough tomorrow -- we have to work really hard in between October and December to finalise this so-called first phase and to start our negotiations on our future relations with the UK," Tusk said.

With the talks already taking place in a difficult atmosphere, the EU changed the meeting venue at the last minute after a chemical leak in its new 321-million-euro Europa summit building sickened several people on Wednesday.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Ekim 2017, 11:40