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Theresa May promises EU citizens can stay post-Brexit

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British Prime Minister Theresa May has promised that EU citizens living in the United Kingdom will be allowed to stay after Brexit. Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders called May's pledge "a good start" to talks, reported Deutsche Welle (Germany).

Prime Minister Theresa May has set out what she called a "fair deal" for EU citizens living in Britain.
During a working dinner with other EU leaders at a Brussels summit on Thursday, May gave "a clear commitment that no EU citizen currently in the UK lawfully will be asked to leave the country at the point that the UK leaves the EU," a British government source said.

"The prime minister tonight set out details of the rights and status EU citizens in the UK will enjoy after Brexit - vowing to give them reassurance, and to make them a priority in negotiations," a senior British government source told the Reuters news agency.

"The PM said the UK's position represented a fair and serious offer - and one aimed at giving as much certainty as possible to citizens who have settled in the UK, building careers and lives, and contributing so much to our society."

May also announced that EU citizens who have been living in Britain for five years would be treated as equal to British nationals in terms of healthcare, education, welfare and state pension provisions. She called for reciprocity and for the two sides to agree on citizens' rights as soon as possible. An estimated 3 million Europeans live in Britain.

'A good start'
German Chancellor Angela Merkel described May's pledge to EU citizens as "a good start" to Brexit talks, but at the same time cautioned that the two years of negotiations ahead would involve "many, many other issues."
The most significant of those issues, the chancellor said, was the bill Britain would have to pay to leave the EU, as well as the border situation in Ireland. "It means we have lots left to do," she said.

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern made similar comments, calling the announcement "a first good step."
"Many details are left open," he said. "A lot of European citizens are concerned and not covered by May's proposal. There is a long, long way to go for negotiations."

The European Commission, charged with conducting the Brexit negotiations, offered no immediate reaction, saying it would assess the offer once it is official. May is expected to present her proposal to the British parliament on Monday.

Departure from reach of ECJ
May, who is battling to retain her authority after losing her parliamentary majority in a snap vote in early June, put herself on a collision course with Brussels when announcing the plans.
The Conservative Party leader did not specify a cut-off date for those who will qualify for permanent residency once Brexit is finalized, and the EU has insisted on no changes until Britain leaves the union in 2019.

Furthermore, May also rejected a demand for the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to oversee the process and any resulting disputes. Earlier this month, the European Commission said the court should have "full jurisdiction."

May, however, is determined to remove Britain from the ECJ's reach, saying that "taking back control" of its laws was one of the reasons Britons voted for Brexit.
"The commitments that we made to EU citizens will be enshrined in UK law and enforceable through our highly respected courts," the British government source said.

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