The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is not happy about the EU Nationals issue
MEPs have said they will veto any move to stop EU nationals being able to claim citizenship before Britain actually leaves the EU.
Hours before Theresa May triggers Article 50 on Wednesday, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, and MEPs have raised concerns the British Government wants tomorrow to be the “cut-off date” for the free movement of people across Europe.
During a meeting last night, Mr Barnier and MEPs discussed pushing back heavily on the UK to rule out any “degradation” of the rights of EU nationals arriving in the UK during the next two years of talks.
During this period the UK is a member state with full rights and obligations
Europeans in the UK currently have to work and live in the country for five years to be eligible to apply for permanent resident status.
Many have not as they are able to live in Britain legally if they have a passport from another European country.
David Davis entered Downing Street today to witness Mrs May sign Article 50
However, with immigration being one of the central issues surrounding the Brexit vote, the UK Government has said it will be focusing on it during negotiations.
With a leaving date of March 2019, this would put the cut-off date in March 2014 – five years before the UK officially leaves – but Mrs May is said to not be keen on enforcing that.
The Government has not officially announced when the cut-off date for EU nationals will be, apart from saying it will honour its EU obligations in full until Britain leaves the EU in 2019 – if negotiations go to plan.
Whitehall sources previously said it would be “absurd” for an EU nationals to arrive the day before Britain leaves the EU on March 29, 2019 yet still qualify for UK residency if they stay on for five years.
Sadiq Khan met with EU bosses today
Home Secretary Amber Rudd arriving at Downing Street today
A source said it would be “highly unfortunate” if a fight over a cut-off date was permitted to sour the first stages of negotiations due to EU negotiators adopting an “extreme” position on the issue.
Gianni Pitella, leader of the European Parliament’s socialist bloc, made it clear he would not take a kind stance on the issue.
All the pictures from Brexit Bill Tuesday Tue, March 7, 2017
Theresa May is facing a second defeat on her Brexit bill Tuesday as the House of Lords votes on another change which would give parliament the final say on leaving the EU
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Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, speaks in the House of Lords Chamber at the start of the third day of The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill
He said: “We have heard that Theresa May is considering a cut-off date as the notification date. We completely disagree on this and we believe that the British citizens and those from the other 27 states are EU citizens until the day of the divorce.
"During this period the UK is a member state with full rights and obligations. It cannot be right that someone signing a work contract in the UK on Tuesday has more rights than someone signing a contract on Thursday.
“We will not allow Theresa May to deliver a hard Brexit for EU citizens. If we don’t insist on the rights of workers in the UK, then I am afraid the UK’s health service will collapse, given the number of EU nationals who are working as nurses. So there is a common interest here.”