The European Union is considering giving the U.K. a seven-year exemption from rules allowing free movement of people while permitting it to maintain access to the single market, The Observer newspaper reported.
The plan is just one idea being discussed as part of Brexit negotiations and the talks are still in early stages, the Observer said, citing high-ranking U.K. officials it didn’t identify. Under the plan, the U.K. would continue paying contributions to the EU budget, the paper said.
The U.K. is seeking an agreement that gives it greater control over its borders while allowing it to maintain favorable trading terms with the EU to reduce the economic impact of its vote to leave the 28-nation bloc last month. Norway, the only country outside the EU with full access to the single market, must allow free movement of European citizens and contribute to the budget.
The Observer says French President Francois Hollande resisted the British plan for an ‘emergency brake’ when he met Prime Minister Theresa May last week. “It will be for the U.K. to choose: Stay in the single market and allow freedom of movement or have another status,” he said on Thursday.
Hans van Baalen, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, said that the immigration exemption is possible as long as the rights of EU citizens already living in Britain are guaranteed, the Observer said.