U.K. Bosses and Workers Unite to Demand EU Citizens Rights Deal

  • CBI and TUC leaders publish very rare joint statement
  • Call for rights to be guaranteed independent from other talks

EU's Barnier Sees `New Dynamic' in Brexit Talks

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The groups representing Britain’s employers and workers joined forces to call on Prime Minister Theresa May and European Union leaders to do more to guarantee the rights of citizens after Brexit.

In a very rare joint statement, Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry, and Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said Thursday that both EU citizens living in the U.K. and British citizens living in Europe need certainty.

“After 15 months of human poker, the uncertainty facing four million European and U.K. citizens has become intolerable,” they said. “It is a blight on the values of our nations. Millions of workers and thousands of firms are today united in their call to leaders on both sides to find an urgent solution. A clear guarantee of the right to remain for citizens in both the U.K. and EU27 is needed within weeks.”

The question of the rights of EU citizens in Britain is one of the main issues holding up Brexit talks. While it seemed to be the area where there was the most political will to come together, the issue remains unresolved after months of negotiations.

At stake is whether millions of people will be able to continue to work and live in places where they are already settled, in some cases for decades. The CBI-TUC statement said EU citizens accounted for a 10th of Britain’s registered doctors and four percent of its nurses.

“They need to hear that they will be allowed to remain in the U.K., whatever the eventual outcome of negotiations,” the statement said. “Not only is this important for our economy, it is the right thing to do.”

They added: “Once agreed, this guarantee must be implemented independently of the rest of the negotiations to avoid the risk that ‘no deal’ in March 2019 leads to uncertainty and heartache for millions of people.”

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