EU Demands for Citizens ‘Ridiculously High,’ U.K.’s Davis Says

  • Davis: European officials ‘are playing very hardball tactics’
  • Brexit negotiations to start right after June 8 elections

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Brexit Secretary David Davis said European Union demands to protect its citizens’ rights in the U.K. are "ridiculously high" and will be the first subject of negotiations to exit the bloc after next month’s election.

European officials “are playing very hardball tactics and someone will have to know how to deal with them,” Davis told LBC Radio on Tuesday. "The demands they are putting up are ridiculously high on EU citizens."

With just over a week to go before the election on June 8 and with the main opposition Labour Party narrowing the gap in the opinion polls, the governing Conservatives are seeking to move the focus back to Brexit to galvanize fresh support for their campaign.

EU citizens’ rights has been one of the most debated issues ahead of negotiations, with a draft working paper circulated last week suggesting the EU will demand its top court have the power to enforce the rights of its citizens in Britain after Brexit.

"We are going to give the European citizens here generous rights," Davis said. "We don’t intend to be unnecessarily fierce about this," he said. “We will deal with it at the very first negotiations."

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